My name is Beth Ciotta and I have a lot of stories to tell. My mind is constantly bursting with ideas. Imagine my surprise when one of my most bizarre concepts–a global treasure hunt–fell into the category of steampunk. Then again after researching the genre, it made perfect sense!
What does Steampunk mean to you?
Fantastical inventions in a retro-futuristic society. Funky clothes. Air ships and automatons. Freedom of expression and endless possibilities! I’m not a steampunk purist. In fact my books have been described as genre-benders, a mash-up of steampunk, historical, romance, paranormal, time-travel, Victorian, western, and retro-1960s. The concept behind steampunk—the eclectic, anachronistic wonder of it all—is at the core of my inspiration.
What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk?
The fantastical element. Whether I’m reading, writing, or immersing myself in some other version of steampunk—art, fashion, music, film—it’s an exhilarating form of escape.
What is your favorite steampunk accessory?
My new goggles. They’re so much fun! Embossed brown leather with cameos on the side. The lenses themselves are clear or… There are lens covers with cool Victorian flowers for when I want to view the world through “rose” colored glasses!
What turned you on to steampunk?
I can’t say that any one thing turned me onto steampunk. I think I developed an appreciation early on when my grandma got me hooked on the 1960s TV show, The Wild Wild West. The gadgets, gizmos and mad scientist element were to-die-for. (Not to mention James West in his skintight pants.)
Later I was delighted and captivated by movies such as The Great Race, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Time Machine. More recently I was mesmerized by The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Stardust, Van Helsing, Hugo, and, oh, yeah, the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downing Jr. Yum. (Did I say that out loud?) If you love steampunk, you simply must see the animated film, “9”. Heart-tugging magic.
Obviously, I’m heavily influenced by TV and film. The show that absolutely cinched my fascination with the steampunk genre (although it’s not officially classified as steampunk) was Joss Whedon’s amazing series, Firefly. Oh, how I mourn its oh-too-short existence! Browncoats unite!
Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about?
I sure do. Coming in May… HIS BROKEN ANGEL. I call it GVD 1.5 because it’s a novella that segues from book 1, HER SKY COWBOY, to book 2, HIS CLOCKWORK CANARY in the Glorious Victorious Darcys series. HIS BROKEN ANGEL features Doc Blue, a secondary character from HSC. Rather than me rambling, here’s a blurb!
Doc Blue has never had it easy. Born a Freak, the offspring of a Vic—a native Victorian—and a Mod—a time traveler from the future—he’s lived on the fringes of society, hiding his true identity and preternatural healing abilities from even his closest friends. His brief support of the Freak rebellion has only left him with even more problems, losing him both his job and one of his greatest allies, the Sky Cowboy, Tucker Gentry. So when Tuck’s kid sister, Lily, ends up blinded in an air skirmish on her way from America to England, Doc jumps at the opportunity to be the one to rescue her and use his powers to mend her wounds.
Curing Lily proves harder than anticipated, and Doc realizes that to restore her sight he will have to spill his biggest secret and embrace his Freak nature like never before. But, with Lily’s help, Doc may be able to reach the full potential of his abilities, heal Lily’s broken heart, and learn, finally, how to open his.
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In June, the next full length GVD novel will hit the streets. The Darcys adventures heat up in HIS CLOCKWORK CANARY. I’m incredibly excited about all the twists and turns that take place in this tale as well as the emotional love story between Simon and Willie. Although I can’t share the cover yet, I can tell you it’s spectacular!
For ambitious engineer Simon Darcy, winning Queen Victoria’s competition to recover lost inventions of historical significance is a matter of pride—and redemption. After all, it was Simon’s failed monorail project that left his family destitute, and winning the tournament would surely restore the Darcys’ reputation.
Simon sets his sights high, targeting no less than the infamous time-travel device that forever changed the world by transporting scientists, engineers, and artists from the twentieth century. The Mod technology was banned and supposedly destroyed, but Simon is sure he can re-create it.
His daring plan draws the attention of Willie G., the Clockwork Canary, London’s sensationalist reporter. Simon soon discovers that Willie is a male guise for Wilhemina Goodenough, the love of his youth, who left him jilted and bitter. He questions her motives even as he falls prey to her unique charm. As the attraction between the two reignites, Simon realizes that this vixen from his past has secrets that could be the key to his future…as long as he can put their history behind him.
Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?
Wow. That’s a tough one. Sort of like choosing a favorite child. I can’t do it. I can’t, I tell you! Well, okay. Simon Darcy in HIS CLOCKWORK CANARY. But you didn’t hear it from me.
What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Deciding how your “world” came to be.
What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Letting my imagination fly!
What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
I think every genre has its perks, but steampunk allows you to be more, um, weird. There. I said it. Next question!
What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story?
The challenge? Being unique. The advantage? The limitless possibilities.
How much research does it take and how much imagination.
I’d say it’s 50/50. At least in my world(s). *g*
PRIZE ALERT: Beth is giving away One copy of Her Sky Cowboy along with a steampunk mug and tea. All you have to do is post a comment.
UPDATE: Congratulations to LisaC who is our lucky commenter and wins the prize!