Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Steampunk Romance: It’s Not Just Fantastical—It’s Also Fantastic! by Heather Massey + Giveaway

As part of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge since July is Steampunk Romance month, I wanted to invite an author whose specialty and passion is steampunk, so please meet Heather Massey who is such a writer (although sci-fi is another big passion of hers). Heather stops by to tell you about this wonderful and strange new genre that is steampunk, please give her a warm welcome and you could even win her books!

Steampunk Romance: It’s Not Just Fantastical—It’s Also Fantastic!
by Heather Massey

True story:

The roots of my love affair with steampunk romance date back to the 1975 airship disaster film The Hindenburg. This silver screen spectacle fictionalized the true-life 1937 crash and burn of a German passenger airship. The Hindenburg may not be the most dazzling disaster film ever, but it sure made a strong impression on me.

See, I was exposed to that movie at a tender young age—so young, in fact, that upon further reflection I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to watch it at all (but thanks for letting me anyway, Mom & Dad!). And oh, the fireworks of that experience! I remember feeling a mixture of excitement, fear, and sadness. If anything solidified my fascination with the majesty and danger of airships, it was The Hindenburg.

Once I became a science fiction fan, I inevitably sought out steampunk—basically Victorian-era science fiction—in various books, films, and anime. That’s when I discovered the true mother lode: steampunk is fantastical, larger-than-life, aesthetically striking, thematic, and adventurous, plus it’s full of gadgets, automatons, airships, and goggles—but not only that, it’s loaded with mystery, time travel, fashion, and oh yeah, steam!

Steampunk also pairs incredibly well with romance. The first film experience to drive that home for me was Back To The Future Part III (1990). While that movie wasn’t steampunk per se, its steampunk aesthetic was very strong. Frankly, it blew my mind—probably more than a commercially-driven, escapist popcorn flick ever should! Shades of The Hindenburg, you see.

Mary Steenburgen’s character, Clara, made a particular impression because she comes across as not only intelligent, but also as Doc’s equal. Steampunk romance lends heroines lots of flexibility because it allows them to take on more gender-bending roles (e.g., heroine-as-airship captain—see Meljean Brook’s Heart of Steel). That kind of progressive characterization is very appealing to my modern sensibilities.

Plus, steampunk romance opens up a whole new storytelling angle by giving authors the freedom to combine steam-driven technology with character-centric plots. It allows for an infusion of fresh hero types such as inventors, steampunk cyborgs, and airship pirates. And the worldbuilding possibilities are off the charts.

Therefore, when authors began writing stories that blended steampunk and romance (Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart (2008) was one of the first to gain mainstream popularity), I was a fan primed to explore this new frontier. I started blogging about steampunk romance on a regular basis at my sci-fi romance blog, The Galaxy Express.

Then I became caught up in steampunk romance in a new way. Three decades after I saw The Hindenburg, my first foray into writing steampunk romance was “Steambot Rampage,” a short story in the Dreamspell Steampunk, Vol. 1 anthology from L&L Dreamspell (2011). In that tale, friends become lovers while battling an automaton gone amok. Hmm, I seem to have developed a commitment to entertaining others with disaster stories. Whaddya know!

Then came inspiration of a different kind, namely, to pen a hauntingly erotic tale about a New England-based watchmaker and his Victorian sex doll clockwork lover. The Watchmaker's Lady delves into the world of clockpunk, which is a sister of steampunk and features clockwork-driven technology.

Clockpunk was so much fun to explore that I decided to create my Clockpunk Trilogy, a collection of stories connected by unique artisan heroes and an 1840 New England setting. The Blacksmith's Lover is story number two. Book three will feature an inventor hero.

I also look forward to entertaining you with my forthcoming release Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts (2013, Lyrical Press). In this Western steampunk romance, Violet Whitcomb, an inventor’s daughter, joins forces with dangerous outlaw Logan McCoy and an automaton gunslinger to rescue her father from the clutches of an evil overlord known as the Iron Scorpion.

So as it turns out, encountering films like The Hindenburg at an impressionable young age begat not only a passion for steampunk romance as a reader, but also a desire to entertain others with a subgenre that offers a unique commentary on how technology can impact personal relationships. That’s because as much as I adore disaster stories, brass goggles, and automatons, it’s the characters that make steampunk romance so very compelling.

About the author:

Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for science fiction romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.

When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.

You can find Heather at her website, Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.

Book #1 in the Clockpunk trilogy

Matthew Goddard is a lonely watchmaker in 1840, New England. One fateful day, he discovers the lover of his dreams in a dusty corner of the local general store—Isabel, a bisque porcelain mannequin head with mesmerizing, smoky blue eyes. When Matthew invites her to come live with him, she eagerly “accepts.”

The couple embarks on a lust-filled affair, one fueled by Matthew’s wild imagination. In order to provide Isabel with a brass body and pretty clothes, he begins a secret side business selling clockwork sex toys to his wealthy female customers.

Danger, however, threatens their idyllic romance when a disgruntled customer exposes Matthew’s forbidden business to the townspeople. Despite the growing menace, Matthew will stop at nothing in order to save his soul mate—and protect their love.

Buy it at Amazon 


Heather has generously offered a copy of The Watchmaker's Lady and The Blacksmith's Lover!

You have two chances to enter:

1) just leave a comment to Heather either about her post, the steampunk genre, any of your favourite books/movies in this genre, what introduced you to it, or any other topic you'd like to discuss;

2) or just submit the link to your review of a steampunk romance HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 1 August 2012!

Good luck!

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