Greetings from Katrina Strauss, author of dark romance for daring readers! I’m excited to help Coffee Time celebrate all things Steampunk. I currently boast only one Steampunk title (or what some might call “Steampunk-ish”) but do have more in the works. I’m here today to discuss my homoerotic novella Sleight of Hand, be it “-ish” or otherwise, and will be giving away one free digital copy to one lucky commenter. Here’s a little more about Sleight of Hand before I tackle Coffee Time’s insightful questions:
What if the man of your dreams is also the one of your nightmares?
Edwin Matthews just wants to get some sleep. Traveling by steam train with his family, the melancholic nineteen year old is plagued by restless nights and recurring dreams of a fiery disaster. When a mysterious magician comes aboard, the troubled insomniac’s trip takes an interesting turn.
Tall, dark, and incredibly handsome, the flamboyant Sir Marco Satori offers to cure what ails Edwin. Spurred by equal parts curiosity, desperation, and attraction, Edwin agrees to the experiment. Suddenly he finds his quiet journey turned into a wild ride of life, love, sex, death…and a few strange things in between.
1. What does Steampunk mean to you?
A blending of Victorian lace with science fiction and/or high fantasy. As mentioned above, I also enjoy and write what some call Steampunk-ish. To me, the “-ish” doesn’t necessarily include the anachronistic technology common to the genre, but still carries a strong Steampunk vibe in setting, mood, and not-purely-historical weirdness.
2. What is your favorite thing about Steampunk or writing about Steampunk?
The whole “otherworld” feel to it, yet one we can still vaguely recognize as what might have been.
3. What is your favorite Steampunk accessory?
Monocles are sexy. Tophats, too!
4. What turned you on to Steampunk?
I’ve been in and out of the goth scene for over two decades, and I remember when Steampunk fashion was an offshoot of that scene and still very underground. I’ve also always enjoyed stories, in both book and film, that defy time period or genre. I didn’t realize until retrospect that many of those stories were the precursor to the Steampunk genre.
5. Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about?
I plan to write a sequel to Sleight of Hand, possibly a third story as well. I’ve also had a Neo-western brewing on the backburner for about five years.
6. Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?
My dark magician Satori, the lead Alpha male (or seme, if you read yaoi) from Sleight of Hand.
7. What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Intensive research on the chosen time period before twisting it into something different.
8. What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Immersing myself in a strange but beautiful world of my own devising. There’s no bigger rush than dropping down the rabbit hole.
9. What does Steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
You’re allowed a little leeway in mixing together the fashions and/or technology of the day with other time periods.
10. What are the challenges and advantages to writing a Steampunk story?
In spite of the leeway I mention in reply to the previous question, it’s still important to research the time period (Victorian, Edwardian, Old West, Civil War, etc) and understand what, exactly, you’re playing around with. The best way to twist a concept is to understand the original!
11. How much research does it take and how much imagination?
I’d say equal parts. When I wrote Sleight of Hand, I did a ton of research on Victorian fashion, transportation, food, and social customs. I spent a few hours alone researching cork bottles, just so I could write one sentence about popping open a levered wire bail stopper.
As for imagination, about a month before I drafted Sleight of Hand, I indulged in a marathon viewing session of Steampunk anime D.Gray-man. I was inspired to create a Steampunk-ish universe of my own with anime, manga, and yaoi influences. And so I did.
PRIZE ALERT: If you have additional questions, feel free to leave them in comments where I’ll be happy to answer them. Remember, one lucky commenter will receive Sleight of Hand in e-book format. Thanks for stopping by, and many thanks to Coffee Time for inviting me to be here!