I hate trying to explain to people what my books are about in conversation. To illustrate why, here’s a close approximation to a conversation I had with my husband this morning:
Him: What’s Radium Town about?
Me: It’s a steampunk western with monsters and Will Rogers set in Claremore [my hometown in Oklahoma] at the dawn of statehood.
Him: But, what’s it about?
Me: Um. There’s this Lovecraftian underground monster that gets woken up by oil drilling? And it infects the artesian water that was so popular back then and turns people into zombie slaves.
Him: Where does the steampunk element come in?
Me: Um. Well, it’s the technology that they use to fight the monsters.
Him: But how is it integral to the story?
Me: … Well, see, there’s this whole back story about monster attacks occurring in Europe and elsewhere, so Teddy Roosevelt put together this government agency, and this agent (who is Will Rogers’ future wife) escorts this scientist to Claremore to test this new drilling machine he invented, and that’s what awakens the monster. And also the weapons and technology that the agents use are steam-powered.
Sigh. At least when I write down my plots I can make them sound cool instead of convoluted and stupid. Not so much when I’m trying to put it into speech.