Hi all! Thanks so much to Coffeetime Romance for inviting me to answer a few questions! I’m the author of a steampunk YA romance, Angel of Brass, which features a hero built out of spare parts by his mad scientist “father.” Jin manages to escape Dr. Malachi’s evil clutches, but can he and geargirl Molly save the queen from Malachi’s nefarious schemes?
1. What does Steampunk mean to you?
To me, steampunk is history as it should have been. It takes the best parts of the Victorian Era/Gilded Age—technological innovation, exploration, and of course a killer fashion sensibility—and throws them into a DIY free-for-all of creativity and wonder.
2. What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk?
The opportunity to reimagine history (even if it is the history of a fantasy world), and to do it in a way that is as much about being creative and aesthetically pleasing as about the tech itself. Unlike science fiction, where there is often a sense of sterility surrounding the tech, steampunk embraces the idea of beauty alongside function.
3. What is your favorite steampunk accessory?
It’s a horrible cliche, but I have to go with the goggles.
4. What turned you on to steampunk?
I’m about to show my age here. I first came across the term in the early-to-mid nineties in the context of role-playing games, but I really became aware of it through the short-lived 1995 TV-series Legend with Richard Dean Anderson and John De Lancie. De Lancie’s character was an inventor who came up with all sorts of steampunky gadgets.
I remember when you could punch “steampunk” in a search engine and maybe come back with 4 pages of results if you were lucky. When it actually started catching on, I was astounded and elated.
5. Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about?
I have a story in an upcoming anthology of fairytale retellings, steampunk style. My story is a humorous take on “Puss in Boots,” in which the narrator is the minion of a mad scientist, who transplants her brain into a cat.
6. Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?
Jin in Angel of Brass, because he so badly wants to find a way to make everything work out without anyone getting hurt (or more hurt). I felt sad when he finally realized he had to choose sides.
7. What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Deciding on the level of technology and what it is and isn’t capable of. Are there automatons in the streets performing everyday tasks, or can only the rich afford them? What have other cultures done with it—how does an Aztec dirigible differ from a French or Chinese one, for example?
8. What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Putting together a soundtrack to listen to while I work. 😉 I don’t have to hunt for songs; I just turn on Abney Park.
9. What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
Describe everyone’s awesome clothes without feeling like I’m boring my readers to death.
10. What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story?
It’s not always easy to be creative and innovative in a genre packed with creative and innovative people. Not to say there aren’t plenty of them in other genres, but steampunk’s DIY origins set the bar pretty high from the start.
But it’s a tremendous amount of fun. Steampunk isn’t just a literary genre; it’s a subculture encompassing music, fashion, art, and tech. I love being able to contribute to something much bigger than a mere literary category.
11. How much research does it take and how much imagination.
The great thing about steampunk is that it is a literature of the imagination, just like fantasy or science fiction, so it’s tremendously open to whatever you can dream up. On the other hand, if you’re going have actual steam power in your steampunk, you should probably at least know the basics of how a boiler works.
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