One of the greatest things about the Aurelia project has been getting to know some tremendously creative people. Two of those people–who’ve been with the show since the very beginning–are Ichabod Temperance and Miss Persephone Plumtartt.
No, those aren’t their real names. But those are the only two names I knew them by for a very long time!
I first met Ichabod on the Steampunk Empire, one of the fandom’s most popular forums. Soon after, a fearsome City Watchmen named Sergeant Pike and a fearful sewage sweep named Ratus made their appearance in Aurelia (both played by Ichabod), along with a winsome waitress named Lillie, played by his partner-in- crime, Persephone.
The range and creativity of their subsequent posts both shocked and enchanted me. I quickly learned that Aurelia is just one of their many creative exploits.
For one thing, there’s the novel A Matter of Temperance (2013) and its sequel A World of Intemperance (also 2013), both available on Amazon. These classic, humorous and fast-paced steampunk romps follow Ichabod’s and Persephone’s alter egos as they race to save a steam-powered world.
“I met this steampunk filmmaker, doing a ‘no-budget epic’ called Engines of Destiny,” Ichabod explains, of his inspiration. “In the film, I got to fight Teddy Roosevelt.” The experience–which was originally designed to beef up his acting chops–introduced him to the subgenre he and Miss Plumtartt have since come to love.
As for the Temperance novels, he adds, “I came up with a funny weapon (Plasmogasmic Discharge Device), and it had a funny name. We built our world around the funny weapon and funny name.”
It might not sound like an exact science, but the results have delighted folks in- and outside the steampunk community. And Ichabod and Persephone never miss a chance to include their friends in their work. In fact, various cast members of the Steampunk Empire make cameo appearances throughout A World of Intemperance.
When I asked about their literary inspirations, Ichabod immediately cited Neil Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, Anathem, and The Diamond Age. Terry Pratchett, too, is high on his list for being “the only humorous [fantasy] author I know of.” Persephone, meanwhile extols Barbara Hambley, for her genre-hopping prowess and good old Geoffrey Chaucer. “He was groundbreaking for his time,” she notes, with a sly wink at (a somewhat shocked) Ichabod.
When he’s not writing, Ichabod auditions for extra roles in the many films now being shot in Georgia and Alabama. “I’ve been a karate instructor and pro wrestling coach for the last 18 years,” he says. “My knees have had it. I’ll move into acting and writing if I can.”
Persephone, meanwhile, has her hands full with a tarot book project. “My interests are pretty homebound,” she says. “We have a big yard. We play in the yard with our pets: half cats and half dogs.” One of those dogs made an acting debut in Aurelia, playing (of all things) a menacing sewer rat. (Authorial aside: the role in question was far more menacing than its darling portrayalist!)
Looking ahead, both Ichabod and Persephone are working on their third Temperance book, For the Love of Temperance, and keeping Aurelia’s Season Two lively as ever.
What’s the pair’s best advice for endlessly entertaining creativity? “Don’t be afraid to be silly,” Ichabod says. It’s something he was reminded of during Aurelia’s Season One, working closely with another actor who used humor effectively. “I feel a little bit freer with each book.”
A Matter of Temperance and A World of Intemperance are available on Amazon Kindle.