Today we welcome Bec McMaster.
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. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.
What’s in a name?
by Bec McMaster
Thanks to Suzanne for inviting me here! Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how my novel, Kiss of Steel, came to be.
One of the things that makes me smile since release is how many readers see Kiss of Steel in a different light. It’s paranormal. No, it’s steampunk. Its listed in the horror section. Um, someone put romance in it… So I’m here to clear up precisely what Kiss of Steel is.
Here’s the thing. I write the story that comes to me and worry about the genre specifics later. The one constant in my stories that it will have romance in it and belong in some sort of spec-fic world, whether that be paranormal-based, dystopian or urban fantasy. I didn’t actually know what Kiss of Steel was until I’d nearly finished myself. There was never a definite, “I’m going to write a steampunk or a paranormal romance”, though I do appreciate that it can fit in both camps and hopefully draw readers in who might not otherwise read it.
When the story and the world hit me (does anyone else get these movies-in-their-head too?), it was almost fully formed. It had vampires and a vague precursor to werewolves. It also had a ruling elite who were infected with a virus that made them crave blood (No, they’re not the vampires. Yet.). In order to protect themselves from the masses after the French turned on their blood-driven aristocracy, they turned to technology to create an enormous automaton army and weapons.
The world was definitely Victorian. I needed a time period when technology was coming to the forefront and certain medical theories were already in place. That was probably my first indication that I was heading down the steampunk path.
The thing with paranormal worlds is that I see them as based on some sort of magic or curse-driven mechanic. There is no magic or paranormal platform in Kiss of Steel, though I appreciate that I’m taking a paranormal-trope and running with it. My vampires are scientific-based, with a virus causing all of their ‘supernatural’ abilities. I had more interest in the craving virus being of a biological nature, rather than a magical one. Perhaps it’s my interest in the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type stories or Frankenstein. Mad doctors, experiments, monsters…
So as you can see, this is why I refer to Kiss as steampunk romance. There are no dirigibles (not in this part of the world or the first book) but technically there are no paranormal elements either by the definition I’ve provided. And the point is… that none of it matters. From what I can tell my readers come from diverse camps and enjoy different aspects of the story. Some come just for the cover (seriously, you would not believe how many readers follow famous cover model Paul Marron!). As a writer the only time I truly needed to categorise was when it came to shopping to agents or editors.
One of the things that I love about the genre as a whole is that it can be so fluid and genre-bending. I’ve read steampunk with strong horror elements and enjoyed it. I’ve also read it with paranormal or fantasy highlights. The idea that the sky is the limit is incredibly appealing to me and that whole sense of adventure is what I love the most about steampunk.
So what about you? Any great steampunk stories out there with a dash of something else thrown in? Which genre mash-ups do you like best?
KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…
When Nowhere is Safe
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.