VIJAYA: I'd like to welcome author Stephanie Burkhart to the blog today. Her latest release is a steampunk romance entitled "Victorian Scoundrel." Steph, what's the difference between science fiction and steampunk?
STEPH: Thanks, Vijaya, for having me here. The story is generally set in the early industrial period where steam power is more widely known, such as early Victorian England, but it adds a second element such as a science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy or paranormal twist. Adding to the complexity of the "steam" is that the story usually takes place in an alternate time, or parallel universe.
Science Fiction is its own genre and generally takes place in our "future," where steampunk is firmly set in the industrial age, between 1830-1901. In "Victorian Scoundrel," the added, second element is time travel (generally considered paranormal) but there's a mention of HG Wells. I couldn't resist.VIJAYA: What made you decide to write steampunk?
STEPH: Gail Delaney, Editor-in-Chief at Desert Breeze, put out a call requesting some steampunk fiction. I was intrigued by the concept. Steampunk blended my love of historicals and along with time traveling. Still, I needed an idea. I decided to go more "traditional" with my story, focusing on a Victorian setting. Then I discovered the Great Exhibition which was in1851. From there my story idea just blossomed. What if two royals from the future went back in time? The plot came easily after that.
VIJAYA: How much history goes into this novel vs action or romance?
STEPH: A lot. I wanted to be accurate so I did a lot of research on the clothes they wore, Victoria and Albert, and the Great Exhibition itself. I must have spent a good two weeks compiling and reading my research notes.
VIJAYA: What are the challenges of writing a speculative alternate history and how much research goes into it?
STEPH: I did research this as well, but it wasn't extensive as my historical research. Since my lead characters, Alice & Edmund are royals, they had to have the "flavor" of the royal family. To establish my speculative alternative history I took a look at the British Monarchy as it now, and built Alice & Edmund's family based loosely on that. Also, I looked at energy power sources. We're all familiar with gas and electricity but Alice & Edmund come from a world that deals with compressed natural gas and what we would consider alternative fuel sources like wind and solar.VIJAYA: What other genres do you write? What are your other books?
STEPH: I enjoy writing paranormals and international contemporaries. My previous novel length books with Desert Breeze are paranormals which center around werewolves. I love the creativity and imagination I can tap into when I write my paranormals. J My books with Desert Breeze are: The Hungarian, The Count's Lair and The Wolf's Torment. I have two short stories with Desert Breeze: Shadows & Light which is Sci-Fi and Matchmaking Amusement which is a "light" fantasy about two muses who fall in love.
VIJAYA: What can we expect from you in the future?
STEPH: In November, "Danube In Candlelight" Book 3 of the Budapest Moon series releases. Then in December I'll be releasing "The Faberge Secret," a novella sized international contemporary romantic suspense set between Brattleboro, Vermont and St. Petersburg, Russia. Both are with Desert Breeze.
Here's a link to the Book Teaser for Victorican Scoundrel:
Publisher's Buy Link:
BLURB: It's 2011 and compressed natural gas has taken over from the coal producing steam machines of the Victorian Age. Alice Windsor, Princess of York, follows her mischief-making cousin, Prince Edmund of Wales back to the past and 1851 where Prince Albert is hosting Britain's Great Exhibition.
Alice soon discovers Edmund has struck up a friendship with their great-grandfather, Prince Albert, and his mischief making entails leaving a dinosaur-sized footprint in history. She also meets Grayson Kentfield, Earl Swinton, and the Prime Minister, Sir John Russell. The Prime Minster finds her odd, to say the least.
Only when Alice falls for the handsome Earl Swinton does she realize the dangers of time travel. How can she give her heart to a man from the past while striving to stop Edmund from changing time with his forward thinking ideas?
Alice doodled on a piece of paper. She enjoyed drawing more so than writing. Making letters took effort. Drawing figures and designing clothes were much more fanciful. Especially in the middle of her Medieval History class, that topic bored her to tears. If only she could wear her light, frilly summer dresses again. Victorian clothes were so restrictive. And itchy. Her glasses slid down the bridge of her nose and she pushed them back.
Edmund looked over her shoulder. "You really should design a couple of gowns for the exhibit. Grandfather wants everything. He's got botanical exhibits and contraptions for the kitchen."
Alice put down her pencil. "They're just doodles, Ed. Are you suggesting I improperly influence British fashion for the next fifty years? I don't think so."
Edmund clasped his hands behind his back, a teasing smile gracing his lips. "I told him about you."
Alice stood up. "You did not!"
"I did, too. He wants to meet you."
"Didn't I tell you I prefer mischievous?"
Alice tamped down a scowl. "Really, Ed. Is that where you went yesterday? To see Prince Albert?"
The gleam in his eyes confirmed her answer. Alice crossed her arms in front of her. "Just how many fingerprints have you left in this time so far?"
Edmund shrugged his shoulders, walked over to their window, and looked out onto the street below. Alice joined him. Grayson would be here any moment to take them to Ascot. A part of Alice didn't want Edmund to go so she could enjoy Grayson's delicious company all to herself, but a part of her was glad Edmund was going because then she could keep her eye on him.
Alice turned away from the window and went back to her desk, tapping her fingertips on her drawing. Perhaps if she did sketch some clothing designs, it would give her access to Prince Albert -- access that Edmund already enjoyed. It would make getting inside the Palace easier. This way she could keep up with Edmund. She needed to find out what he'd been up to in this time and sabotage it if she could.
"You know, Ed, I like your idea after all. I think I will design some gowns for the exhibition," she said.
Edmund turned away from the window, smiling at her. "I can't wait to see what you come up with."
Muffled sounds of carriage wheels and horses came from outside. Alice went to the window and looked out. Grayson's carriage had arrived.
Edmund pointed to her bed. "Don't forget your cape and bonnet."
Alice glared at the bonnet on the bed. "I am not wearing that thing. All these clothes are uncomfortable enough."
"Aren't you the fashion icon?"
Alice ignored him and picked up the cape from her bed, fastening it around her chest. Their room at the hotel was spacious with two twin beds, a bathroom, and a window overlooking the street. There were two bureaus, one for her, one for him, which were slowly filling with clothes for this time. The room was masculine in color, though, with earth tones -- browns, grays, and maroon reds.
Victorian Scoundrel is available as an Ebook For Sony Ereader, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and various formats for download.
Review from Tia Taylor:
"Victorian Scoundrel is a clever Steam Punk novel full of Time travel, interesting gadgets, witty dialogue and love scenes that will have the reader reaching for a fan!"
Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!