Blog Hop: Abigail Abernathy and My Serial Writing Process

This week, I’ve been tagged in another blog hop. This time, I was tagged by author Frances Pauli, who you may remember me tagging in the last blog hop. Frances is the author of several novels and many short stories. Recently, she has been publishing the web serial The Earth Tigers, a fantasy series about a little girl, giant spiders, and a war with giant wasps. It’s a very interesting story, and this is coming from someone who hates spiders. You can find her post here.

I want to thank Frances for tagging me in this hop (even if I’m late actually writing my post) and encourage you to check out her writing. You won’t be disappointed.

And now on to the questions about my own serial, The Tales of Abigail Abernathy.

When and Where Is The Story Set?

The Abigail Abernathy series is set in an alternate history version of the British city of Bristol, circa 1880. In my world, Charles Babbage was able to perfect his difference engine, which then led to the development of the analytical engine. Over time, analytical engines became larger, more powerful, and more complicated, to the point where they resemble the computer networks of today. The primary difference is that they are mechanical machines that still depend on steam power and punch cards, rather than electricity and transistors.

Analytical arrays, as I call them, are not common, but most large businesses run at least a small network of them. The Royel (yes, royel; they would never be able to get a royal charter) Trading Company has one that has been rather poorly maintained until the entrance of Abigail.

What Can You Say About The Main Characters?

Abigail Abernathy is a mid-twenties spinster who learned from her father everything there is to know about servicing and maintaining analytical engines. Her mother does not understand her desire to work for a living, thinking it unbecoming of a woman of her status, and insists that she instead find a husband and start a family. Abigail has no interest (for the moment) in romantic entanglements, and wants instead to make her mark on the world by becoming the best analytical analyst in the universe.

Mr. Kent is the owner of the Royel Trading Company. He is a lifelong friend of Abigail’s father and sort of an uncle to her. He has had a terrible stutter all his life, but has somehow managed to cobble together the resources and manpower necessary to form a small trading company. He believes that analytical arrays are the future, and that they will allow him to rival the East India Company. Unfortunately, through his own naivete and the sort of characters he has attracted to his business, he has quite an uphill climb ahead of him.

What Is The Main Conflict?

There are two primary conflicts for Abigail. The first is her versus a society that does not believe women should work at all, and especially should not work at a trade. She is constantly reminded in both subtle and overt ways that she is trying to succeed in a world where the odds are stacked against her simply because she is a woman. But she knows something they don’t: she is far more stubborn than they ever could be.

The second conflict is her ongoing struggle with Mr. Bennett, the American analytical analyst she replaced when she began work. He endlessly works to sabotage both the company and her personally, mostly out of a sense of revenge, but also as a way of reinforcing his own ego and preconceptions about their respective skill levels because. Of course, there may be something else going on within his psyche, but that will show itself in time.

It’s been a while since I published a new Abigail story, but I have plenty of them churning around in my brain, waiting to be written. In the meantime, you can pick up the first in the series, Abigail Abernathy: All-Night Analytical Engine Analyst, for free on Amazon.

Pokes and Prods

Here are links to some other authors who write serials. They are all great writers and well worth checking out:

Laura VanArendonk Baugh – Laura is the author of the excellent not-Japan Kitsune-Tsuki and Kitsune-Mochi, and just published the comedy/mystery/salute-to-fandom Con Job. She is also the author of the Smoke and Fears serial.


Add a Comment
  1. I’ve become a big fan of Steampunk stories of late. I’ve always been a Sci-Fi fan, with Star Wars and Firefly among my favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Abigail Abernathy book, and plan to get the next within the day. Very clever writing and interesting characters. Please keep writing.

  2. You should record the audio versions. It’s amusing listening him to read these out loud. He reads them as if he were British! ;)

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