Hello Readers! Today I bring you author Heather Massey. Heather is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for science fiction romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.
When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.
Expectations play an important role when starting a book. Even if you’re about to read a familiar genre you enjoy, there are still mysterious twists and turns a story can take. As in life, there are no guarantees in fiction.
But what if a book covers unfamiliar territory? How will you know if it’s truly up your alley? You won’t always figure out the answer one hundred percent, but often it helps to obtain information beyond the cover and blurb. As a fan of some very niche subgenres, I know how important it is for readers to learn about new-to-them books/authors so they can make an informed decision.
Steampunk romance is a recent phenomenon and readers are still trying to figure it out. Therefore, I’d like to present a number of elements I included in Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts, my new Western steampunk romance from Lyrical Press. This story has steampunk and romance, but what does it really tell you about what kind of reading adventure to expect from it? I will provide some of the (non-spoiler) answers in this post.
To begin, here’s the least you need to know: Violet Whitcomb, an inventor’s daughter, joins forces with mysterious gunman Logan McCoy and an automaton gunslinger to rescue her father from the clutches of an evil overlord known as the Iron Scorpion.
The steampunk genre has roots in Edisonade–style stories. Victorian-era people were fascinated by technology and engineering and their interest was channeled into tales about inventors and their fantastical devices.
Edisonade tales have a reputation for action/adventure and stylish trappings such as brass goggles, airships, and automatons. Steampunk can also include those elements but it isn’t solely defined by them.
Two of the main characters of Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts are an inventor and his daughter. I began with a basic Edisonade trope (i.e., the inventor) but subverted it through the heroine’s gender. During the adventure, the reader is introduced to a Weird West world of fantastical steampunk devices.
Action-adventure elements are a significant part of the story as well. The heroine and hero are on a quest and face dangerous obstacles each step of the way. Unlike the Edisonade stories of old, the heroine in this tale gets an equal share of the action!
The penny dreadful motif
Penny dreadfuls were a 19th century form of genre fiction. Printed on cheap paper, the publications featured sensational stories generally aimed at adolescents. Penny dreadfuls were affordable, serialized stories. Young folk read them to escape the drudgery of their daily lives. Who could blame them?
No matter the negative judgments aimed at the consumption of penny dreadfuls, they were entertaining and introduced their readers to all kinds of different worlds.
I incorporated a penny dreadful motif into Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts not only for fun, but also as a way of informing readers about the heroine’s personality. Her experience as a reader of penny dreadfuls impacts the plot and her relationships with other characters—often with unexpected results.
Western film homages
|Man With No Name|
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts pays a deep homage to the Western film genre. Like many Westerns, the characters embark on a quest. Think: a steampunk’d True Grit.
While developing this story, I thought it’d be cool to feature an automaton gunslinger in action. And what if he looked like Eastwood’s Man With No Name from director Sergio Leone’s classic Western film A Fistful of Dollars (1964)? Hence, Arthur the automaton was born, a quirky sidekick for the hero and heroine.
A “sweet” heat level romance
Given the story’s tone, action-adventure elements, historical setting, and characters, a “sweet” heat level romance seemed a natural fit. Since erotic romance has gone mainstream, the heat level of Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts is an important item to know going in.
The story has plenty of sexual tension, though, and the sweet heat level challenged me to discover fresh ways to incorporate the push-pull nature of the hero and heroine’s attraction into the narrative. Some of them are “hidden” in plain sight. If you decide to read Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts, I challenge you to spot them all!
Now it’s your turn. In the form of tags, tell me about your favorite Western, steampunk romance, or any other book/film/television show in any genre you think people should know about.
Leave a comment for this post and you’ll be entered in a random drawing for a chance to win a digital copy of Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts!
* Winner’s choice PDF, ePub, or .mobi.
* The deadline to enter is 2/28/2013.
* Please include your email address and preferred format.
Now for the blurb:
The West just got a whole lot wilder.
A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits…until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.
A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.
A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.
Heather, thank you so much for stopping by today!