I am excited to welcome author Bec McMaster, who is celebrating her fourth London Steampunk novel, My Lady Quicksilver.
Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother’s disappearance. And get out.
In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. But she doesn’t count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy.
He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of My Lady Quicksilver.
Literary Escapism: For those of my readers unfamiliar with your London Steampunk series, can you give us a brief look at your novel and what readers can look forward to? Something we haven’t seen yet?
Bec McMaster: Set in a dark, alternative-Victorian world, where the blood-thirsty (literally) Echelon rules London with an iron fist, the London Steampunk series is all about the men and women who choose to buck the system and fight for what they believe in. My Lady Quicksilver is the third novel in the series; it features Sir Jasper Lynch, the dutiful Master of the Nighthawks and Mercury, the masked revolutionary he’s been tasked with finding and bringing to justice.
LE: Why Jasper and Rosalind? What was it about them that drew you to them and want to tell their story?
BM: Three reasons: first the series plot dictated this was how it was going to go, secondly, there’s no point writing a series if you aren’t going to expand on the world and thirdly, I love the enemies-to-lovers theme. For Rosalind/Mercury, Lynch is one of the very blue bloods she despises, whilst for Lynch, duty compels him to capture her. They were both very scarred, very flawed characters – Rosalind more so than Lynch – and as an author, above all I love forcing my characters to face what they fear the most. Kiss of Steel was my dark romance and I call Heart of Iron my sweeter romance, but My Lady Quicksilver was a very emotionally grueling book for me to write.
LE: Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that we’ll be meeting or who will play an important role to/for Jasper and Rosalind? Was there any character that didn’t make as big of an impact on the story that you thought they would? Was there a character who stayed on the page longer than you thought they would?
BM: My Lady Quicksilver is all about exploring more of the London Steampunk world, so expanding on the Nighthawks and also the humanists who worked with Rosalind introduced a lot of characters. Some of the main side characters include Garrett, Lynch’s lieutenant, and Perry, the only female Nighthawk, plus Rosalind’s deformed brother Jack and her closest friend Ingrid, who are both working for the humanist movement that is trying to restore rights to humans in London. I originally thought Blade might make an appearance, as he’s worked with Lynch in the past, but the plot didn’t allow for that. As for a character who stayed on the pages… probably Garrett and Perry. I never saw that coming.
LE: Is there any particular legend or mythology that you came across that was the root of inspiration for your werewolfen that was used more than others or was there a wide source?
BM: A lot of the inspiration for verwulfen comes from Viking lore, and particularly berserkers. Also history itself. A lot of people throughout history have been accused of lycanthropy, which is where they believe they turn into a creature, but don’t physically change shape. They were often angry, unnaturally-aggressive people. If I was going to bring werewolves and vampires into the series, then I wanted to do a different take on them.
LE: What was your inspiration when you created the Echelon and their society at large? How did you determine how they were going to interact with each other?
BM: The British ton was my inspiration for the Echelon – just a bloodthirsty version of it. I love political maneuvering and backstabbing, and the idea of having these beautiful, gaudy people who could be utterly vicious was really appealing. In history society had quite strict rules about how the nobility interacted with each other, so I just corrupted a lot of the rules (or made them up) to fit my dark world.
LE: We met Esme and Rip in Kiss of Steel, and they now have their own story with your free novella, Tarnished Knight. Have any of the other characters from your London Steampunk series demanded to have their own story told in a novella and will we get to see it?
BM: Tarnished Knight was always meant to be a gift to my readers for Christmas last year, which is why it was free for about six months. I was also between contracts and waiting to hear back on book four and five (happily contracted now), so I had time to play with something else and I just felt that Rip and Esme’s story wasn’t finished yet. I have ideas for other novellas, but unfortunately time is the issue, rather than inspiration. Time is always the issue.
LE: With the release of My Lady Quicksilver, will we continue to see the previous couples (Honoria/Blade & Lena/Will) as the series progresses? Will any of the couples have a second novel?
BM: One of the fun things about writing the London Steampunk series is the fact that all of the characters have complex relationships with each other. The main couple will always have friends and family – and sometimes they will be working through issues from those relationships – so there’s a strong chance a previous couple will show up in future works. Writing Heart of Iron, for example, was interesting to show the Blade and Will / Honoria and Lena relationships from another angle and another viewpoint than in Kiss of Steel. It also furthered Honoria and Blade’s romance, because of certain consequences that crossed over from what happens in the conclusion of Kiss of Steel – I kind of liked that they’re still working through things together. Their appearance wasn’t just a look-how-happy-I-am cameo.
However, that being said, I refuse to push my previous characters into a story where they don’t fit, just for some page time. In My Lady Quicksilver, Lena is the only main character who makes an appearance and that is because she is both tied to Mercury, and also to tie up a loose plot thread in Lynch’s investigation. I’m moving away from the rookeries for two books, because that is where the overall story is taking me. It didn’t make sense for any of Blade’s gang to make an appearance in My Lady Quicksilver, however, they return in Forged by Desire (book four) and they will have a major role in book five, due to who the hero of that book is. Their stories will still be evolving, because of the nature of the relationships between all of my characters, but at this stage I doubt any of them will have a second novel all to themselves.
LE: Why the Victorian age? Is there something particular about this time in history that draws you?
BM: The Victorian Age is when the Industrial Revolution really took off; it was a progressive era, with heaps of new inventions and above all, change. I like writing heroes who are self-made men, or on the way to making what they want of their lives (this doesn’t always involve oodles of money). I like downtrodden heroes from lower classes, fighting against the system. And I also like having a system in place that includes nobility, so this was the perfect age for me to set the series in.
LE: Have you always had an idea as to where the series/novel is going? Do you know where it is going or is the storyline evolving as you write?
BM: There’s a five-book arc at this stage, which will tie up this particular plotline. I have other plotlines I can spin off into if I want (or my editor asks for more), but there’s a very firm direction to this part of the series. Saying that, I have a final destination, but the journey is always evolving.
LE: What was it about the paranormal genre that drew you to write in it? Was there a certain book that captured your imagination and lead you to think you could do it or did it come to your naturally?
BM: I started reading epic fantasy when I was eight, and only discovered romance when I was sixteen. Paranormal romance is a great fit for me, because it combines two genres that I love.
LE: When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche in the fantasy genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why that one or if not, why not?
BM: I actually read more Urban Fantasy or YA than paranormal romance, don’t ask me why. Perhaps because of the world building – finding a completely unique type of world in fantasy always gives me a happy glow. I love Erica Hayes, because she writes really dark, gritty, unconventional paranormal romances – not for the faint of heart. My good friend, Kylie Griffin, writes fantasy romance with a really solid world – I don’t see a lot of straight fantasy-romance with an epic plot. And I also think Stacia Kane and Jim Butcher are the bees knees in Urban Fantasy.
LE: And my favorite question to ask: Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
BM: Heaps of them! I’m constantly like, ‘Damn, that is an awesome idea!’ Of course, I’d do it differently however, because writers are always replotting books and movies.
Thanks for having me!
Meet Bec McMaster!
Award winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia, and grew up with her nose in a book. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, she discovered romance and hasn’t looked back. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and adventurous steampunk romances. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.
Thank you Bec for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Bec is giving away a copy of My Lady Quicksilver. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Rip and Esme received their own story with Tarnished Knight, is there a couple you would like to see get their HEA? Who are you most looking forward to seeing in My Lady Quicksilver? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. (US/Canada only)
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
The contest will stay open until October 15th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.