Leslie Dicken has spent years writing, even longer reading, and now she balances it all with work, a family, a feline huntress, and a chunky beagle. She writes stories with history or science or fantasy (maybe even all three at once), but they all have one thing in common – love and a happy ending. She hopes you enjoy her stories and she’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to check out her website www.lesliedicken.com, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook!
Why I Write Steampunk
by Leslie Dicken
Steampunk seems to be all the rage lately, but I started thinking about back at the RWA National Conference in Washington, DC in 2009. My good friend and critique partner, Lisa Paitz Spindler, explained how the genre was a mash-up of science, technology, and history. As both a science fiction aficionado and a historical writer, this combination intrigued me. I went home from that conference and started reading what romance steampunks were out — and at that time, there weren’t many. But I found enough to convince me to give the genre a try.
Much of the current steampunk stories have a paranormal or fantasy element in them: vampires or fairies or werewolves. I didn’t want to go that route, but I wanted a high concept storyline to pull my readers in. What better to highlight the darker regions of Victorian London than Jack-the-Ripper? Although my story doesn’t follow the actual case of that infamous killer, I do have an alleyway killer on the loose. My hero knows far more than he’s willing to let on about that killer and my heroine has a very personal stake in seeing that he’s caught.
But what about the steampunk? Well, there is a dirigible in the story (including a love scene on it!) and my main characters each have their own personal “flying machines.” However, the elements that tie the strongest to the storyline relate to my hero, who is an inventor of automatons. And let’s just say that he has also tried to combine automaton parts with living human flesh. This photo I found is a perfect replica of what my hero used to replace his brother’s arm with.
I find steampunk fascinating (although seemingly difficult to explain) because of its innate combination of science and history…and its ability to open itself up to other subgenre elements. I guarantee there are no two steampunk stories exactly alike!
My first steampunk, THE IRON HEART, will be out from Samhain Publishing in February 2012.
~ Leslie Dicken