I grew up in a world filled with flying machines, cogs and wheels, and corsets. Unfortunately no one else saw it. Teachers told me I had trouble focusing, but they just didn’t understand that my world was much more fascinating than the math equations on the board.
When I learned to read I devoured science fiction, but the worlds never fit into the one I’d created in my head. It wasn’t until September 2002 that I found something close to my alternate reality. Firefly was a little known show on the Sci-Fi network set in a war-torn world with corsets, horses, and cool bronze airships. It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned, but I fell completely in love with this space opera.
During the first run of Firefly I started researching punk styles and didn’t stop. I’ve gone to DragonCon, read lots of books, and even dressed up in some Steampunk attire myself. Yes, I connect with my inner geek. 🙂
In 2012, I decided to write my first punk style book based on a future war-torn Earth where Slags (people altered with medal appendages) verse Neumarians (people with gifts). Add to it royal clothes, slave collars, and airships and you’ve got The Neumarian Chronicles.
What does Steampunk mean to you?
To me, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction based on stories set in the industrialized Western Civilization during the19th century’s Victorian era, or an American western style, or post-apocalyptic future in a fantasy setting that employs steam power.
What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk?
Being a huge fan of world building, Steampunk opens up so many possibilities. I’m not a Steampunk purist, so I tend to bend the boundaries and stretch into other punk elements.
What is your favorite steampunk accessory?
While I was attending a reader’s conference in Alabama, I discovered this cool old gun in an eclectic little shop. It looks so authentic, and even makes noise when you shoot. Yep, I’m a total geek. 🙂
What turned you on to steampunk?
I loved Steampunk before I ever knew what it was called. Firefly, although not classified as Steampunk, was the one show that drove me to investigate the genre more. You’ll find many Firefly style influences in The Neumarian Chronicles.
Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about?
Escapement, book one of The Neumarian Chronicles, is being released next month. This is the book of my heart. You’ll discover a post-apocalyptic society full of punk elements.
Here is the official blurb?
Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queen’s reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my mother’s empire. When my own erratic powers surface I’m captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.
Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?
That is a tough question. Of course, my hero and heroine, but if I dig deeper into secondary characters, I’d have to say Bendar. He was so much fun to write with his unique speech patterns and his touching relationship with the heroine, Semara. He is one of those characters that appear superficial in the beginning, but then you discover how pivotal he is to the story. I love twists!
What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
I think the toughest thing is to make sure all the laws of your world stay true. Power and technology should match the resources of the world.
What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
The ability to create and twist gadgets to fit the world the author has created.
What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
Show characterization through the utilization of unique gadgets. The reaction of the characters to fantastical elements provides unique circumstances for character development.
What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story?
If you want a pure Steampunk, it can be tough not to sound repetitive. I like stories that are either pure and work, or merge into other punk genres.
How much research does it take and how much imagination?
In the case of The Neumarian Chronicles, which is based in a post-war setting, I actually consulted an aerospace engineer, natural resources professor, and did countless hours of online research. In the end, I know more than I’ll ever need to about the theoretical use of nuclear and steam power. My main concern was to match power resources with what would be left after a world war.
PRIZE ALERT: Ciara is giving away 2 eBook copies of Weighted (prequel novella to The Neumarian Chronicles) and one free advanced reader copy of Escapement, Book I of The Neumarian Chronicles. (It will be available in early Feb). All you have to do is post a comment below1
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