Posted by Babs Mountjoy
A few summers ago, I got the wild hair to turn my living room into a steampunk masterpiece. Not that I knew a whole lot about steampunk, mind you. But I’d been fascinated by the fashions and decor for awhile, and I liked Wild Wild West and Firefly (which isn’t steampunk but it is Chinese and Chinese is cool).
We added the Victorian interest in nature by having mounted butterflies with microscopes, the old steam trunks, the Persian rugs… and this Chinese cabinet which was truly a beautiful antique, with lacquered carvings all across the front panels.
This was the highlight of our collection, acquired in a dusty old antique store in Asheville, North Carolina. We were in love with it. (Right now though, I’d love to sell it so I don’t have to move it again. It’s very solid and heavy!!)
We added the gear-naked clock, and a gear-laden chicken. (see below).
So what have I written that qualifies as Steampunk?
One of the delights of steampunk is the adherence to knowledge of machinery and science. I’m a mother, not an engineer, damn it, Jim. One day, I might take the time to research and educate myself in an effort to get up to speed enough to write on the subject. I like what I see that other people do, for sure. I mean, who doesn’t like magic flying machines and submarining 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea??
Another facet of steampunk that I love is the focus on travel. People are always flitting about in airships, or on boats or underwater or into space, even. The curiosity of the Victorian Era just continues on in spades.
Sure, there’s still politics and poverty and all the other parts of modern society, but the chase for knowledge seems to be valued above all else.
And they love one thing I also love: the octopus.
Not just your average little inking cephalopod, either. They don’t mess around. Their octopi can take down whole boats. And they are ubiquitously useful. Do you need one of your very own? Check out this video! They come in chandeliers and door handles. They make lovely Halloween costumes. Need I say more?
What do you think about steampunk? What’s your favorite example?
One of my sister authors has a beautiful photographic novel entitled THE DOOR—this post is part of her campaign to raise funds for its publication before she goes on for her Masters’ degree. Hit the link above to enter the contest and capture your clue words for the scavenger hunt of the week. Win wallpapers and other bonus gifts. Most of all, support starving artists everywhere! 🙂
Posted by Babs Mountjoy
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?
It’s great to be here. I’m R.S. Hunter, a science fiction, fantasy, and horror author from sunny San Diego. I live in the suburbs so I use writing as a way to escape them.
Unlike a lot of writers I know, I don’t drink coffee. However, I am a sucker for a good craft beer. (One of the perks of living in San Diego). All I need when I write is my laptop and my headphones. That’s what you’ll find on my desk, which also doubles as my kitchen table.
Tell us about your new novel, coming in September from Hydra Publications.
My debut novel, The Exile’s Violin, the first book of the Tethys Chronicles, is a steampunk adventure tale that follows a young woman’s quest to unravel the mystery surrounding her parents’ murder. Along the way she teams up with bored socialite Clay Baneport, and the two of them discover a conspiracy that threatens the fate of the world.
How would you best describe your books?
I have a lot of experience with video games and writing about them, so I think because of that, my books have a very strong visual quality to them. A lot of times when I write, I try to picture how the scene would look in a movie or in a game.
The Exile’s Violin has clear steampunk influences along with parts that feel like action/adventure movies. But I’ve also been told that some parts of it have some noir influences. I wasn’t trying to channel that when I wrote the book and characters, but I can’t say I’m complaining!
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
My favorite genres to write and read are speculative fiction. Hands down. I’ve been in love with genre fiction ever since I saw Star Wars as a small child. I also like horror a little bit, but it comes in third after SFF. To clarify, I like horror books. Horror movies on the other hand scare the hell outta me. No thank you.
I wrote The Exile’s Violin and its sequel, Terraviathan, because they were the books I wanted to write at the time. I don’t try to chase trends or try to jump on the next big thing. I write what I like—explosions, science fiction, fantasy, gun fights, sword fights, etc.—and I just try to make sure it ends up being the best damn book I’m able to produce.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I love being able to create new worlds and characters. That’s one of the best parts about speculative fiction; I’m not hampered by real locations and people.
Many other writers out there all say things like they started writing when they were 4 etc. etc. Not me. I’ve loved reading all my life, but I didn’t start writing fiction until college. I asked the professor of my World Literature class if I could write a story instead of writing a final paper. She said yes. I wrote the story. Passed the class. Workshopped the story the next semester, and then it became the first thing I ever had published.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I want to find a local SFF writing group that focuses on novels rather than short fiction, but I haven’t had any luck yet. As far as websites go, I like Absolute Write and Goodreads. I also have a bunch of “name generator” websites bookmarked. Those sites are life savers.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to videogame music, remixes, and electronica. Other times I’ll listen to heavy metal or classic rock. I have to have music on while writing though. Silence and me are enemies.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many stories did you write before selling one?
The first piece I had published was a short story called “Runner” in the Abaculus II science fiction and fantasy anthology. The Exile’s Violin will be my first published novel. I know it’s incredibly rare to have your first novel also be your first one published, but the book has undergone significant changes between when I first wrote it and where it’s at today.
What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
Right now I’m working on revising and polishing Terraviathan, the sequel to The Exile’s Violin. Unfortunately due to financial reasons, I won’t be able to travel to any conventions. There might be a few local signings around the San Diego area, but there’s nothing definite yet.
Readers can visit my website (http://rshunter-author.com) for more information about me and my work. And of course, follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/rshunter88). I love talking about writing, speculative fiction, videogames, TV, and just about anything on there.
Thanks so much for coming by today–steampunk is definitely an up and coming genre, and I’m sure this book will be fabulous! Lyndi