We're wrapping up Steampunk Saturdays with paranormal and steampunk romance author, Bec McMaster and her debut book, Kiss of Steel. Please give Bec a warm welcome and raise your glasses for a toast to her upcoming release. Congratulations, Bec!
What drew me to write steampunk?
Almost the first question anybody asks me when I say I write steampunk romance is, “What is steampunk?” It’s a great question, because, up until five or so years ago, I didn’t know what it was either.
That may sound strange, but the thing is, I’ve been reading books featuring steampunk (or steampunk elements) for years and loved so many steampunk movies - I just didn’t know what it was. I remember seeing Wild Wild West at the movies with my Dad and thinking, ‘This is the coolest thing ever.’ Or trying to explain The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to a friend. Coaxing my boyfriend to watch Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (dieselpunk rather than steampunk but no less cool) or salivating over Sherlock Holmes, with its slightly-steampunk ending. I didn’t know what steampunk was but I knew what I liked. Kick-ass weapons, crazy inventions, feisty heroines in fantastic costumes and swashbuckling heroes with no small amount of charm. But most importantly, I loved the sense of adventure.
Steampunk started creeping into my sphere, bit by bit, corset by corset. I remember when I first saw a rather long-winded definition of it on the internet and thought, wow, that’s like historical fiction + fantasy + sci-fi. For a self-admitted geek like me, it’s like all my favourite genres came together and had a baby. It fascinates the part of me that studied science at university and pleases me aesthetically. It appeals to the part of me that wishes I’d been born in the late 1800’s, when so much of the world was still unexplored and the curious, how-does-this-work part of me that sends me on wild goose chases through the internet.
Steampunk started to pop up as the next big thing, which, as all writers know, is something to be avoided if you can. The problem was, the more I read and saw, the more I realized this is what I love. It had a name! I wasn’t just some fan of strange movies or books that most of my friends didn’t understand.
Then, two years ago, a little voice started whispering in my ear. I’d catch an image every now and then, of foggy, cobble-strewn streets and blaring omnibuses. Gaslight and decadent gowns. But most importantly of all, I saw a young woman; down-on-her-luck, half-starved, trying desperately to keep her feet in the mean streets of Whitechapel, whilst she kept glancing over her shoulder. Searching for someone, I thought. Or afraid that they’d found her.
And then there was my hero, Blade, that little voice I mentioned earlier. Watching from the shadows with his cheroot and a dangerous glint in his green eyes. Full of rough, cockney charm and arrogance.
One little image that could have gone anywhere. But it was like a thousand little ideas I’d been storing in my sub conscious all came together and then suddenly Kiss of Steel was practically writing itself, keeping me ‘til late and nagging at me in the middle of the night when I was supposed to be sleeping.
The world kept growing and growing and what I thought was going to be a paranormal romance started taking a darker, more sinister turn. The ruling Echelon (kind of like the ton, but stricken by a virus that turns them into blood-drinkers) came into being, ruled by seven deadly dukes. To keep the humans in their place they created an automaton army that rules the streets. And from there… well… lets just say that history took an interesting turn.
Is there adventure? Yes. Science? Yes. Cool guns, sexy corsets and dangerous, flame-throwing metaljacket automatons? Yes to all of the above. Dirigibles? Well, not just yet. Or not in Britain, anyway. After all, there’s still so much of the world to explore.
So tell me – as a reader – what drew you to reading steampunk? Or if you haven’t read it yet, do parts of it sound like they interest you?
Sourcebooks is giving away one copy of Kiss of Steel to one US or Candian reader today. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering Bec's question and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Additional entries are available but not required. Good luck!
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