Bec McMaster is the author of the London Steampunk series and the 2nd novel in the series, HEART OF IRON, just came out! Bec was kind enough to take a few moments to answer my questions about the new book, and more, so please welcome her to the blog!
Thanks for joining us today, Bec! Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Thanks for having me! I’m an avid reader and traveller, who loves dreaming and writing of far off places and times in history. I live with my very own Beta Hero, a hand-me-down dog and a towering TBR pile that threatens to become an avalanche every day. Writer of all things steampunk-ish, paranormal and slightly gothic. The weird and the wonderful.
Heart of Iron, the 2nd book in your London Steampunk series, just came out this month! Will you tell us a bit about it and what inspired you to start writing the series?
I’m very excited to unleash Heart of Iron on the world. My heroine, Lena Todd, is a flirtatious debutante, looking to find her place in the darkly dangerous Echelon that rules London. Of course, the brightly glittering world she remembers from her youth isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be, and when she finds herself involved with a group of humanists who are attempting to overthrow the blood-drinking aristocrats, she knows she’s in over her head.
Enter Will Carver, the dangerous verwulfen ruffian who lives with her brother-in-law in the rookeries. When he finds a coded message on Lena he knows she’s in trouble. Of course, after a single kiss that went horribly wrong, Lena’s not about to blithely let him back into her life. Will’s going to have to exert every ounce of charm – an alien word in his vocabulary – to win his way back into her graces.
Also; explosions, clockwork automaton armies, mad dukes and mayhem.
What do you love most about writing in a steampunk universe?
The possibility. Steampunk is so much fun in that anything could have happened. So much has been discovered in the last hundred years that you realize back in Victorian times (which is roughly when I set my books, except for the fact in my world Queen Vic didn’t actually exist) there were whole parts of the globe that hadn’t been explored yet. There was mystery in everything. One of the interesting things in writing Kiss of Steel (Book 1 in London Steampunk) was that my heroine Honoria was working on a cure for the craving virus that afflicts my blue bloods of the Echelon. I know so much more about the virus and the cure and the way things work than she did, or that was written in the book, because some of it, she just had to say, ‘I don’t know.’ And they didn’t back then. Germ theory, viruses, anti-bacterials etc. were only just starting to be explored. Yet the spirit of adventure and of what was possible thrived. The idea for so many modern day technologies stems from historical times – helicopters, air-ships, computers – they just couldn’t quite get the theory in place. Steampunk is like saying that they did.
Have you done any particular research for the novels?
See above (:
I’ll throw in a couple of random areas I researched. For Kiss of Steel, since it was set almost completely in the rookeries of London, I really wanted to capture the feel of the area and period. I think I now know more about whores, street vendors, penny gaff theatres and assorted street gang weaponry than I need to.
In Heart of Iron, I’m exploring the Echelon and the world surrounding England a little more. Scandinavia and their verwulfen clans come into the story, so it was interesting reading about old Viking culture and berserkers, which is what my verwulfen are based on.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I attempt to plot but then I pants the rest of it. My plots rarely stick to the course, as I think I need to have a little bit of inspiration popping up here or there. Now, I just set an end goal – where am I going with this – and then work my way there.
I have to say, you must have pleased the cover gods, because the covers for your books are gorgeous! Do you feel like they effectively convey the spirit of the books?
I love my covers, I really do. Gene Mollica is an absolute genius when it comes to conveying the world, especially based on the couple of extracts I send him. I’ll admit that one of the most common comments I get is that Honoria would never flash her garters (or even her ankles LOL) like she does on Kiss of Steel and I agree, but the world, the spirit of the series? Absolutely nailed. It’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s dangerous and I think the covers do a great job in conveying that.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
My editor definitely influences my writing and help to keep me streamlined and focused. Apart from that, everything I read provides ideas and influence, so it’s hard to pinpoint one or two correct answers. Sometimes it’s simply a case of unlocking my sub-conscious I think. For example, I was flicking through a travel blog the other day on Hawaii and there was a single line about volcanoes that set off this entire world within my head – characters, the world, the different races etc. One sentence and it’s like a key to unlocking something that was obviously buried deep.
If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
The Hobbit. I was eight and it opened me up to a whole world I never knew existed.
When you’re not busy at work on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
Free time… *Sighs and stares off into the distance thinking about this myth* Actually, I’m trying to carve back some reading time at the moment because I think my writing suffers when I don’t give myself time to refill the creative well. Otherwise, baking and dealing with my vegetable garden, watching Spartacus or Game of Thrones with hero material, playing netball and running – they’re my physical outlets.
What’s next for you?
My Lady Quicksilver is out in October and features Sir Jasper Lynch, Master of the Nighthawks (blue bloods who hunt felons) and Mercury, the masked leader of the humanist revolution. When Lynch is charged with bringing in the notorious Mercury, he may have more on his hands than he bargained for. Mercury is not only elusive and a woman, but she’s also right beneath his nose (not that he knows that). MLQ is a battle – a duel of wits and wills, and very, very sexy.
**For a sneak peek at the London Steampunk world, I’m offering an e-novella called Tarnished Knight (set after Kiss of Steel and before Heart of Iron) for free download for the month. See here for details.
About HEART OF IRON:
In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…
NO ONE TO TRUST
Lena Todd is the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a rebel against London’s vicious elite—not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger.
Will Carver is more than man, he’s a verwulfen and he wants nothing to do with the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds Lena in possession of a coded letter, he realizes she’s in a world of trouble. To protect her, he’ll have to seduce the truth from her before it’s too late.
“Deftly blends elements of steampunk and vampire romance with brilliantly successful results…darkly atmospheric and delectably sexy.” –Booklist, starred review for KISS OF STEEL
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. The third book in the London Steampunk series, My Lady Quicksilver will be in stores in October 2013. Read more about her at www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on Twitter @BecMcMaster