Hi, everybody! I’m K. Z. Snow, and I’m delighted to appear on CTR’s beautiful and informative steampunk blog. (Thank you, Karenne!)
My first steampunk novel, Mongrel, was released by Dreamspinner Press, which of course means it’s m/m (or homoerotic or gay) romance. The sequel should appear later this year. Here’s a glimpse into its world:
Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival, seems like the only bright spot in the dreary city of Purinton. But a shadow is cast there one day by a tall, cloaked figure striding down the boardwalk and behaving in a most eccentric way — a man with strange eyes and strange ears and a mark at the base of his throat. He’s Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King, and he isn’t welcome at the Circus. No resident of Taintwell is. They’re all Branded Mongrels, and they’re officially shunned.
So it’s understandable that Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman, is wary when Perfidor approaches his stand and begins asking questions. Much to his chagrin, Will is beguiled as well. When the two men meet again at a public house in the city’s seediest district, all prejudice falls away. Lust takes over, then affection. An affair is born.
The naive but plucky pitchman soon becomes embroiled in a dangerous quest. Fanule suspects that Alphonse Hunzinger and Purinton’s civic leaders are responsible for the disappearance or incarceration of countless Branded Mongrels. But why? As Will’s passion and regard for his tormented lover grow, he’s determined to help Fanule get answers and prevent any further persecution . . . or worse.
With the aid of a dead and dismembered witch, a vulgar bounty hunter, and a dapper, voracious vampire, Fan and Will take on a group of ruthless enemies. If only they can stay together and stay alive long enough to see their plan through…
What does steampunk mean to you?
Sometimes I think of it as a sort of past-present-future tangle of pingbacks; other times, as history thrown into a blender with imagination.
What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk?
The representation of urban environments. There’s so much room for evocative detail, and so much opportunity to explore people’s attitudes, interactions, and social structures within those environments.
What is your favorite steampunk accessory?
I’m not much into accessories (although I love seeing what enactors dream up!) My focus is more on the big picture, I guess—the stage rather than the “staging”—as a backdrop for the players and their stories.
What turned you on to steampunk?
China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentlemen. What brilliant writers they are! I was enchanted by both books. They’re beautifully bizarre and inventive, with unique characters and stark yet lavishly detailed settings.
Do you have any upcoming steampunk stories you can tell us about?
I recently completed Merman, the sequel to Mongrel. It features the vampire Clancy Marrowbone, who played a major supporting role in the first book. (Of course there’s a merman as well—but not exactly a fairy-tale merman.)
Who is your favorite character of all from one of your steampunk stories?
Fanule Perfidor, aka the Dog King, a bipolar Branded Mongrel and the main character in Mongrel. (No, it isn’t a shifter story! :))
What’s the hardest thing about creating a steampunk universe?
Not making it screamingly obvious that you’re creating a steampunk universe. I try not to hit readers over the head at every turn with buzzwords like “steam” and “parasol” and “clockwork.” Sure, certain images and concepts have to be integrated into each story, but it requires some thought to weave them in subtly and seamlessly.
What’s the easiest thing about creating a steampunk universe?
Giving myself as much creative latitude as I need.
What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
Take a walk on the grim side while keeping it fanciful.
What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story?
For me, the biggest challenges lie in the technology. Everything else is an advantage. I really do love this playground!
How much research does it take and how much imagination.
Since I write fantasy-steampunk, the ratio is probably 25%:75%.
GIVEAWAY! If you leave a comment below, you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing for a free download of Mongrel.