Whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, somebody who loves genre-bending stories, or just somebody who loves beautiful covers, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer’s Inventor’s Secret series has probably been on your radar – or has been a series you’ve devoured over the past few years. In little more than a week, the finale to the steampunk series will hit shelves: The Turncoat’s Gambit.
In The Turncoat’s Gambit, Charlotte has spent her whole life fighting the British Empire, following in the footsteps of her parents and their group of rebels. But when her reunion with her mother after so many years fell short of her expectations, Charlotte knew she had to escape. Now she is on the run, and she’s not even sure who the enemy is. Her new friend Grave is still just as mysterious as ever, and her feelings for Jack may be even more confusing than anything else.
The Turncoat’s Gambit releases on November 15. Cremer stopped by to chat with us about the series – how Charlotte has grown, what her favorite parts of writing it were, and which of her favorite books readers can tide themselves over with.
It’s time for the conclusion to the Inventor’s Secret series! Can you give us a taste of what will unfold in The Turncoat’s Gambit?
The Turncoat’s Gambit answers the questions raised in books 1 & 2 with lots of action and a few surprises. Charlotte and her friends will come to understand the intentions and structure of the Resistance and will have to make difficult decisions about what they want their roles to be within the movement. Deeper truths about Grave’s existence will be revealed and Charlotte will forge her own path to independence as she fights for those she loves.
It’s been a long road for Charlotte. How far do you think Charlotte has come since The Inventor’s Secret? Would Book One Charlotte be shocked by Book Three Charlotte?
Charlotte has come a very long way. In The Inventor’s Secret, Charlotte had ambition and skill that she was longing to demonstrate. By book three she’s fully experienced what it means to lead – in both triumphs and sorrows. She’s much more self-aware and has come to appreciate what it means for herself and those around her to make difficult choices in order to be true to themselves. She understands the risks and rewards of living fully and honestly. I think book one Charlotte would be proud of who she’s become at the end of the series, but I also think she’d be shocked by hardships it took to get there. Book one Charlotte was somewhat naïve about the burden of real independence and leadership.
What have been some of your favorite things to write in the series?
I love all the characters, but creating the settings in this series has especially brought me joy! Steampunk offers a beautiful, unique blend of fantasy, history, and sci-fi with endless possibilities for weapons, gadgets, vehicles, transportation, etc. Creating this world afforded new experiences as a writer that were incredibly rewarding. And as an historian, it was a lot of fun to go back and rewrite the timeline!
You openly call yourself a feminist – it’s right on the homepage of your website. (I love it!) How did that influence your worldbuilding decisions, especially with Charlotte’s character arc?
My feminism influences all my decisions, personal and professional. In the case of Charlotte’s character, feminism contributes to her drive to be a leader and to follow through with hopes to make them reality. I would also say that feminism is about compassion and empathy and therefore being a feminist leader isn’t about personal achievement, it’s working for the greater good and as Charlotte comes into her own as a leader she realizes how much her choices will affect those around her. True leadership, true heroism means taking one’s strength, one’s privilege to use for those who have been trodden upon and lifting them up.
You started your life in the YA world with Nightshade. (Whose original cover I remember fondly; what a work of art!) You’ve gone from werewolves to steampunk. Why do you think that YA readers are so open to genre fiction – it is, after all, topping the charts! Why are you drawn to it?
YA is unique and inspiring in its willingness to forgo traditional boundaries of genre and explore new terrain. I believe that YA readers are open-minded, hopeful, and imaginative; they aren’t constrained by categories and that’s incredibly exciting and encouraging. I love YA because I’ve always been drawn to coming-of-age tales. Finding one’s self, one’s true self, is the most difficult and most important journey in life and that’s what YA centers upon. I can’t think of a more important, nor more honest, category (if I must, because ‘categories’ ugh!) to be writing in.
What else do you want readers to know about The Turncoat’s Gambit?
I hope that readers will be breathless, hopeful, fearful, and ultimately rewarded by Charlotte’s adventures in book 3. Non-stop action drives this book and while there are many harrowing scenes, my heart’s wish is that those who’ve traveled this road with Charlotte and her troupe will find fulfillment at the end of this journey.
What would you recommend to fans of the Inventor’s Secret series after they finish devouring The Turncoat’s Gambit?
It’s a fantastic time to be a reader. There are so many incredible books to devour! If you aren’t already reading Marie Lu’s The Young Elites series, now is the time to start. The final book in the trilogy just came out, so it’s binge reading heaven! If the historical aspects of The Inventor’s Secret fascinated you I’d recommend Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, Forge, and Ashes, which are amazing accounts of the American Revolution. I’d also recommend Alex London’s Proxy and Guardian, Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger, and anything by Tamora Pierce.