Interview with James Palmer — The Clockwork Conundrum

James Palmer is a 2014 New Pulp Award-nominated author, editor and publisher. He has written articles, interviews, reviews, columns, and poetry for Strange Horizons, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, Continuum SF,, SciFiKuest, andBlood Blade and Thruster: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction and Satire, among others. James also edited the charity anthology Voices for the Cure, which benefits the American Diabetes Association, and features work by Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Resnick, Cory Doctorow, and others.

Interview with James PalmerScreenshot 2015-04-30 at 12.21.44 PM 
author of The Clockwork Conundrum 

Tell us about your newest release or series, and where should a new reader of your books be best suited to begin reading their way through your back catalog?

Screenshot 2015-04-30 at 12.21.14 PMMy newest release is a steampunk short called The Clockwork Conundrum: From the Files of Her Majesty’s Clandestine Agency. It’s about a young woman named Sarah Frost  and a plot by beings from the future to take over the British Empire. I intend for it to be a series of novellas. A great way to get acquainted with my work is through my short story collection Into the Weird, which features most of my previously published Pulp and New Weird stories.

It seems writers today have to publish more often than in the past to really make a living. How do you manage your time? What length of works do you write…mostly novels, novellas, short stories, or flash?

So far I’ve only written short stories and novellas, and edited a few anthologies. I’m still learning to tackle things at novel length. I think the great thing about indie publishing and e-books is that length is no longer that much of a factor. Readers only want good stories. They don’t care about arbitrary lengths invented by traditional publishing.

Authors today seem to need a social media platform that covers everything from Q&A posts to video; what do you think the fledgling authors need to focus on to get on the right track with social media?

I think authors need to do what is comfortable to them, and not get overwhelmed. Pick one or two platforms and get comfortable with those before moving on to something else.

Actually, I’d suggest authors create and nurture their own email list of readers interested in their work. Social networks constantly change the rules so that it is harder to reach potential readers. If you own your list, you are in control, not Facebook or Twitter.

If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself? What pitfalls would you steer away from?Screenshot 2015-04-30 at 12.19.52 PM

I stopped writing fiction for a long time and focused instead on freelance nonfiction writing. If I could go back I would tell myself to keep going so I’d be ready with plenty of material when Amazon first launched the Kindle and self-publishing first became a truly viable option. I would tell myself to take the long view.

How important is it that authors do the Convention circuit? When in a career do you think con appearances become a valuable tool?

I think writers should take advantage of con appearances as soon as possible. Even before they have written enough to become guests, they should go as attendees and go to writing panels and network and get to know people. I have met so many fellow writers as well as artists, podcasters, and potential readers, not to mention some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I’m the writer I am today because of people I met at Dragon Con and a few smaller cons years ago.

Screenshot 2015-04-30 at 12.20.35 PMDo you consider yourself a indie/traditional/both?

Right now I’m definitely indie. I doubt I will ever go traditional, but if a good deal came along I wouldn’t pass it up.

Getting books into audio is the latest thing that writers seem to be learning how to do. Are your books available in audio format? And if so how was the recording produced?

I have one short story in audio, part of a magazine published by Pro Se Productions and produced in audio by Dynamic Ram. I haven’t gone the audio route yet, but if I write a novel that becomes popular I will definitely look into creating an audio version. ACX make it very easy to do audio now.

If you enjoyed this interview with James Palmer be sure to read my first interview with the authorYou can get more information about his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on FacebookGoodreads , Twitter, and on his website. You can also find out more about Mechanoid Press by Twitter, Facebook, or on the website.  

When you sign up for James’ newsletter either on his personal site or the Mechanoid Press site you will get a free e-book.  Go to or and entering your email address in the box on the right.


10 thoughts on “Interview with James Palmer — The Clockwork Conundrum

  1. I can’t write short stories since they start turning into novels. I started writing fiction early on because I had no choice. If I didn’t write it down, I’d never get any sleep. I love steam punk so will grab yours and enjoy, thanks.

  2. I’m so intrigued that the majority of your work is anthologies! I’m actually going to be putting out my first anthology when all the rest of my work is full length novels. I agree with you about attending cons too – they are something I’m considering for the future. Great interview and good luck with your work!

  3. Great interview Lisa! And wow… what a powerhouse writer! Great insights too… I wonder… is there a “con” for memoirs about working in Hollywood? LOL!!!

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