Carina Press week continues here at Steamed! Don’t forget to comment on each post this week (Tuesday-Friday) for a chance to win a prize pack of all four featured Carina Press Steampunk e-books. We still have other contests going on including a copy of one of Leanna Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful books , a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, or another swag and book bag from RT.
Today we welcome Carina Press Steampunk Author Marie Harte.
Marie Harte has been writing for as long as she can remember. Interest in the written word, no doubt spawned by her English teacher father, continues to this day. She’s a voracious reader, boggling everything from romance to horror to fantasy and more. She’s in love with the art of putting pen to paper…so to speak. Marie currently has nearly fifty titles with Amber Quill, Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, Samhain, Total E-Bound and Whispers Publishing. Journeyman’s Ride is available now from Carina Press.
The “Steam” in Steampunk
by Marie Harte
Steampunk is such a great representation for the kind of book I’ve always wanted to write. The rules are vague, the lines confining the genre full of gaps and crumbling mortar. Here, creativity rules.
There are certain tropes when one thinks of steampunk. Goggles, gas lanterns and steam locomotives, for example. Or Victorian ladies running amuck in London trying to avoid dastardly villains, who always seem to have a zeppelin at hand for some nefarious purpose.
The aforementioned are some of the images I envisioned when I heard the word steampunk, and that’s only after I researched the term. I’d heard of cyberpunk, but steampunk? Yet this niche genre is growing, and so are its strictures.
In my story, Journeyman’s Ride, I felt free to create wonderful inventions that shouldn’t exist where steam—and not electricity—is a major source of power. I used a steam locomotive to ground myself in the genre. But take note: the train crashes early on, and my story is set in the West, a growing trend among alternative novels. I didn’t mind going there, as I’m a sucker for a good Western.
I’m also a huge fan of Norse mythology. And cannibals. And mechanical monsters. I love the idea of juxtaposing civilization against raw wilderness, where both environments exist yet neither overrides the other. Where else but in fiction can you find a world teased with civility that isn’t overcome (or tainted) by it?
Ideas swirled, and my story became much more than just a romance with a steampunk backdrop. Was it less steampunk and more fantasy? Too much erotic fiction, not enough danger? Where did I need to draw the line, or did I need to draw one at all?
When is steampunk not so much steampunk?
When does fantasy or creativity test the boundaries of the genre? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think it’s an easy answer. My book has so many descriptions it’s dizzying. It’s erotic, romantic, Western, steampunk, and contains the mythic element of Norse gods.
All this might seem like a lot to throw into a novella, but it’s all just background. The real story centers on two protagonists who need to resolve conflict and grow together. That they do amidst a retro world that glues together several genres into one anachronistic story is half the fun.
This first foray into steampunk has addicted me, and I plan to delve into this world again in the future. More gods, more steam and gaslight tech, and more romance. I don’t claim to be the foremost authority on steampunk as a genre, but I do know romance. A splash of danger, a hero’s journey, and a rich world are nothing without memorable characters.
I’d like to think I—and my Carina contemporaries—have added to the steampunk experience from a romance perspective. We’ve taken this gaslight/steam world, added a dash of love, and mixed it up to produce adventures that keep a reader turning pages. Sexy, retro, and romantic. Think of it as even more “steam” in your steampunk.
What do you think of the intersection of Steampunk and romance? Anything you’d like to see?
Grant prize contest is open internationally. One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries). Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box. Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.