Blue Caldera

The Steampunk Detective Stories of V.S. Velde

Ettie Thompson, investigator

My protagonist, Ettie Thompson, came out of a secondary character for a different, now abandoned, writing project. Possibly she was the most interesting thing in it. I liked the idea of a lady detective who both echoes and subverts notions of the hard-boiled crime detectives like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. As a detective, not only able to work through complex puzzles but to also be able to navigate through situations in a way that most cannot. At the same time, she is, in Blue Caldera, at the beginning of her career as a detective and her lack of confidence works against her; in part this stems from her inexperience, but it also stems from being a woman in a man's profession. Her education in mathematics and career as a codebreaker have given her a specialized and useful skillset, but she lacks many of the skills that more seasoned detectives have picked up over a lifetime in the field. 

I also love the notion of the detective as the damaged moral figure: the person who carries guilt with them, and is attempting to work out not only the truth, but also how to best restore moral balance. Ettie drinks too much. She's attracted to the wrong sort of man. She's not above making very bad personal decisions. These are the things that make her an intriguing character to write about, and I'm already looking forward to seeing how she grows as a person and as a detective as a result of the events in Blue Caldera. This is in some ways her origin story. 

V.S. Velde    ©      2014