I am super excited to welcome Lisa Mantchev to the site today to tell us about her new book, TICKER. Ticker contains (squee!) a steampunk bakery -- hello, my one true love!

Lisa was awesome enough to answer some questions, too -- and if you're bright eyed enough, you might spy a clue in her ongoing SCAVENGER HUNT. What? There's loot to be had? Only a Kindle Paperwhite with a custom TICKER cover!  Read on, darlings, read on!

dividerA girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count. Ticker Cover Final

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

dividerAn Interview with the Author!

Every story also contains the story of its beginning. Tell us where Ticker began.

Cross my heart, it started with a pocket watch. I was burning up all my nervous energy between the theater books scouring eBay for watch bits. People were turning up at conventions dressed in NeoVictorian glamour with goggles and brass bits, and I am all about the costuming.

But then I found a pocket watch on eBay that had a compass and sundial inside instead of a watch mechanism, and my writer-brain was off and running.

Does Ticker have a soundtrack -- are there any specific songs that inspired scenes?

I do, actually, have a Spotify Playlist for TICKER. There are no scene-specific songs in this novel, although I will mention that I had the lovely chance to connect with Professor Elemental (he of the Fighting Trousers) and he was kind enough to provide a fantastic endorsement for the novel. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than “ripping yarn.”

Part of the fun of steampunk is inventing devices and gadgets for our characters to use; what's your favorite from Ticker?

Just to give you some idea of the worldbuilding in this one, I had to compile my style sheet for my copyeditor, and there were three, single-space pages of proper names for locations and gadgetry, food and beverages, weapons and publications. I think, of all of them, Penny’s personal protection device, a taser-like handheld dubbed the “Pixii” might be my favorite.

Penny and Violet are fantastic friends and it's awesome to see girls just being girls; what inspired this facet of the book?

For as many drafts of TICKER that I wrote (there have been at least four distinctly different versions of this novel) Penny and Violet have always been best friends. I think this was born out of noticing the lack of female peer companionship Bertie had in the theater novels. In many ways, from the vivid hair color to the love of cake, Violet is my tribute to Bertie in this novel, if she’d lived in an alternate world and had a dozen brothers and sisters. And on THAT note…

What if Penny Farthing and Beatrice Shakespeare Smith literally run into each other on a busy city street (or is it a stage?); what in the world(s) do they spend their day doing or talking about?

Penny might have indeed attended a performance at the Theatre Illuminata, if she could but get tickets. If they met up for tea and toast, Bertie would encourage Penny to wear more trousers and have had Decided Opinions about Penny’s corsets. Shenanigans would abound, in any case.

You've done community theater, as well as acting while in high school. Among all that you've done, what has been your favorite role and is there one you haven't conquered, but would very much like to?

I think my favorite role was playing Katherine in Taming of the Shrew for a senior year AP English project. My friend playing Petruchio, unscripted, picked me up and heaved me out the back door of the classroom. I haven’t ever had the chance to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, but I would dearly love to.

How do you take your coffee?

STRONG. And au lait.

It's the season of NaNoWriMo; if you could share something you've learned from your own writing career, what would it be?

If you’re serious about it, it’s a job, whether you’re pulling a paycheck or not. That means that every month is novel-writing month. Every month is revising and polishing and sending off and starting something new. On December first, keep writing. On December second, keep writing. On December third…

What's next for you? Do I see a tiny elephant on the horizon?

You might, indeed! My picture book STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS is slated for publication by Paula Wiseman/S&S in the Fall of 2015 and will be illustrated by the award-winning artist Taeeun Yoo. The following spring, SISTER DAY will debut, illustrated by the fantastic Sonia Sánchez.

dividerTo celebrate the Kindle First digital launch of TICKER by Lisa Mantchev, the Farthing family would like to loan you your very own Vitesse motorized high-wheeled bicycle and messenger bag. Venture out into the city of Bazalgate to see the sights and retrieve six items necessary to celebrate with Penny and her friends. When you are done, remit the list for a chance to win your very own Kindle Paperwhite customized with the TICKER cover!

Contest open to US residents. Email entries to lisa@lisamantchev.com with the subject line “TICKER Paperwhite Giveaway”. Deadline for entry is midnight PST on November 15th. Winner will be announced here on November 16th.


Even more intimidating than the architecture, thousands of mechanical Xestobium rufovillosum perched on the walls. The Death Watch Beetles monitored noise levels, and if an unlucky patron progressed beyond a whisper, the twitches of their mica wings summoned the Unseen librarians. Once charged with safeguarding the thousands of paper documents and illuminated manuscripts, the Unseen now tended the city’s Eidolachometer Information Storage System. No one knew exactly where the librarians were trained or how they were recruited, but at least once or twice a month, a researcher’s limp body was removed from the building and transferred to Currey Hospital for observation. It took anywhere from three days to a week for the patient to wake up, another month or more to recover his or her powers of speech.

Item to retrieve :  Eidolachometer cards

ONWARD to adventure, glory and teatime!

THE FLYING FORTRESS - Fantasy Book Critic



GLASSHOUSE - Fangirlish

PENNY’S BEDROOM - Emma Michaels

dividerMANTCHEV author photo smLisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan,) the series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.)