Minus the wig and Clockwerk surface decorations.
This bodice will have a huge number of gears and clockfaces and chain attached.
The wire’s been added to the hem of the outer skirt. The way it moves when Willa’s walking around looks pretty cool.
The zipper will be either blackened, or covered. (the buckles are purely decorative)
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy just won Independent Publisher Book Award for Juvenile Fiction!
I can’t believe it! I couldn’t more proud!
“With its strong female protagonist, steampunk influence, myriad gadgets, descriptions of real life inventors and inventions, and quality writing, I can’t recommend this book enough. Did I mention clockpunk cats?” —B. Evans
What’s it about? Here’s Willa (she’s eleven):
Ever wonder why some crazy scientist hasn’t blown up the world? I used to wonder about it all the time. Actually, I was pretty sure my mom would be the one to do it.
But now I know better. It turns out there’s a force working hard to keep the world from going KABLOOEY.
Who are these people? Wait for it:
Idiots. Yep, you heard me right.
How do I know? Well, apparently, I’m an Idiot. At least, according to the Geniuses I am. Confused? I’m not surprised. You’re probably an Idiot too.
It all began on a Thursday at precisely 8 a.m. I was standing in the family room of our lovely two-story house, directly across the street from Squirrel Brand Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The same family room that, in a few minutes, I would never ever, ever see again—ever.
Once we decided to attend Balticon 52, it was a pretty short jump to: Let’s make Willa’s Clockwerk dress!
Well, as luck would have it, we have a costume designer in the family. In fact, Meredith was there from the beginning. After reading an early draft, and after pincushioning me with questions, she dashed off—within minutes—the first design sketch of the dress. She then sat at my side, answering my questions, as I converted her sketch back into words. (Meredith was 14 at the time she drew this sketch. She’s now in her second year at Rutger’s University, pursing a BFA in costume design.)
Years later, working from a newer draft, Carolyn Arcabascio created a quick napkin sketch, in color, to see if she was on the right track. (She was.)
The dress appears twice in Carolyn’s many illustrations for the book. Once in black and white:
And once in color, on the cover:
At this exact second, Meredith is ordering all manner of supplies for the dress, which will be modeled at Balticon this May by two Willa Snap impersonators.
My plan over the next few months is to document Meredith’s progress as she brings Willa Snap’s Clockwerk dress to life. Consider this installment #1. Watch this space.
*All of the above is, of course, complete nonsense. The simple truth is that CeeCee da Vinci swiped the original dress pattern from Clockwerk Couture in the Clockwerk burg, Nimet relayed the pattern to me, and I delivered it to Meredith. There’s a longer version (as you might imagine), involving a midnight burgling, a dozen of Aunt Mila’s Clockwerk cats, a defective Smith & Blazooski mini stun cannon, and the careful deployment of ten balls of yarn (work with what you have). And if Willa ever figures out what we’ve all been up to . . . well, as Nimet would say, “Tanrı yardımcımız olsun” (Heaven help us).
Two new 5-Star Amazon reviews for Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy!
The folks at MBR released a review of Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy today! We’re really excited to post it here!
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy pairs lovely illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio with the first book in a satisfyingly original, compelling series for ages 9-12, introducing Willamina Gilbert Snap, an eleven-year-old who discovers there’s a force keeping the world from destruction – and that force is comprised of Idiots.
She should know: she’s apparently one herself, and her destiny is to never see home again – among other things.
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy represents Willa’s “first highly illegal memoir” and details her venture into Grandeur, a city of time-traveling dragons, talkative cats, and scientific discoveries unknown to Outside.
There’s a lot to relish about Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy; not the least of which is an approach that offers much food for thought about the structure of Willa’s world and the science and psychology behind it: “The problem is that geniuses – both capital G and small g – either think you understand everything they’ve said as perfectly as they do, or that you’re as dumb as dirt. It’s one of their biggest flaws.”
From the baristas’ strange brewed creatures (“a hermit crab the size of a basketball, a foxlike cashier wearing a hat and vest, and a small winged dragon perched in a cage, preening its bright green feathers“) to devices that rent unused brain space, Willa sweeps readers along. Sentient Clockwerks, a cat-run curiosity shop, and steam-powered rhino cabs coexist in a setting the author describes as “polypunk.”
It’s unusual to see such sci-fi depth and detail in a title directed to young adults, but this is precisely what makes Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy such an appealing production: the characterization is solid while its fantastic setting will intrigue ages well beyond its intended 9-12-year-old audience.
Time vortexes, ghosts, and the costs of navigating this odd world make for a complex but thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs’ House with a Clock in its Walls. From its engaging drawings to its powerful message, Idiot Genius will leave readers musing about Willa Snap’s adventures long after the winding story concludes. It is highly recommended for young adults seeking something compellingly different in tone, approach, and perspective.