It’s Steampunkapalooza! Today we welcome Delilah Dawson.
Delilah S. Dawson is a native of Roswell, Georgia and the author of the steampunk paranormal romance Blud series for Pocket. Her first YA, a creepy paranormal called SERVANTS OF THE STORM will be available in 2014. RT Book Reviews has called her “a wonderfully fresh new voice!”
Delilah is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Georgia Romance Writers. You can read her product reviews at www.CoolMomPicks.com and www.CoolMomTech.com, where she is an Associate Editor. She’s a geek of all trades, a synesthete, and the sort of person who saw Spawn in the theater and made other people angry by laughing.
A Not-so-steampunk Story in a Very Steampunk World
by Delilah S. Dawson
I never set out to write a steampunk story, you understand… it just happened. My first book, WICKED AS THEY COME, grew from a dream in which I met a deliciously dark sort of Mr. Darcy who talked like Spike from Buffy and walked like Captain Jack Sparrow. And I knew immediately that he was neither a human nor a vampire, but something new. Something in between. That man was Criminy Stain, and he became my first Bludman, a species of blood drinker that’s beautiful, magical, and very much not undead. Following the logic of the world of Sang, all the fluffy forest creatures became bloodthirsty monsters as well. And that left a gaping hole in a Victorian world: how would people get around in a world where horses were predators?
The answer was obvious: steampunk and clockworks.
In the cities of Sang, the humans have all but ghettoized the Bludmen, and human blood is common currency. Conveyances dash past passers-by on the cobblestoned streets, and copper monkeys ride on men’s shoulders as they escort fine ladies in corsets and petticoats wearing snake-shaped clockworks as bracelets. The city of London is dirty with factory smoke and shadowed by high walls to keep the blud creatures out, and yet there is one small Eden where live companion animals can be procured, for a price–a pet shop called Needful Creatures.
My latest e-novella, THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE, tells the tale of pet shop proprietress Frannie Pleasance and the series of dramatic events the unfold when she takes in a debauched musician as her lodger. While my first story centered on a blood drinker and my second story focused on a clockwork carnival, this self-contained romance is all about two perfectly normal humans in a perfectly normal city. And as Frannie makes her living buying and selling exotic and rare pets, she shuns the clockworks that are all the rage elsewhere. Which means that I’ve concocted a steampunk paranormal world… and then written a story with very few steampunk or paranormal elements.
I think what intrigued me was the very rebellion that we sometimes forget in the word “steampunk”. I basically wanted to punk my own series and see if it would work. Yes, I love my goggles and dirigibles and submarines– just read the first two books in my series to see exactly how much trouble my characters can get into with their steampunk props. But I liked the challenge of following the rules of my world while rejecting the two core values it was based upon.
Of course, steampunk and paranormal are still there, under the skin, in the bones of the story. Frannie’s parents died in a horseless carriage accident, which is part of why she rejects steam and clockwork power. And Bludmen live in the city and come into the shop for crows and ravens. And there are daimons, a supernatural sort of people from the Sangish version of France who have colorful skin and feed on emotions. But for the most part, Peculiar Pets is about how two people who have suffered tragedies and built shells around their hearts learn to open up to each other and to possibility.
It’s also about Thor in a kilt with a Scottish accent, but that part’s not nearly as deep.
If you like steampunk romance with a dash of paranormal, I hope you’ll check out my Blud series from Pocket. The steampunk and paranormal start out heavy in the first book, WICKED AS THEY COME, continues in an e-novella called THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO, and then, yes, takes a brief hiatus in my latest e-novella,THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE. But I promise you it picks right back up in the second book,WICKED AS SHE WANTS, which is out April 30 and includes an airship bordello, a steam train, and some very interesting goggles.