When my writing friend Anne Van told me she was publishing a steampunk story, I had to admit I had never read anything in that genre before, I wasn’t even sure I knew exactly what it was. Anne kindly sent me her story and I was immediately hooked especially when I knew she had been influenced by Jane Austen, my favourite author. I asked Anne to join me on a post to talk more about steampunk and why she wrote her short story so please welcome Anne!
Me: How would you describe the steampunk genre?
Anne: Here is the classic definition from the Urban Dictionary:
Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.
Me: What drew you to write a steampunk story?
I absolutely love the Victorian era. I live in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district filled with beautiful Queen Anne, Neo Classical, and Romanesque houses. My home is loaded down with Victoriana. Some I inherited from my family, and others that I’ve collected since high school. The artist side of me admires all the over the top detail that was so popular in the late 1800’s. I also love fantasy. My passion for traveling to worlds of the imagination began in junior high school and never stopped. Steampunk is the perfect genre for both my passions.
Me: What are the challenges of writing a short story? What do you like / dislike?
Anne: I think what many writers dislike about short stories are the challenge of a limited amount of pages to tell their tale. To go from 300 pages down to 15 is a huge downsize. Yet you still have to have all the elements that make a successful book. A well developed storyline and characters the reader cares about. Those are the very things I love about writing short stories. The economy of pages forces me to distill down the story I want to tell. To focus in on the moment in my characters lives I want to explore. The Unseen Wonder is about the Worthington family’s big preparation for the mother’s birthday “Gift”. The birthday present that would top the Toasterator, last years gift that changed their lives from ridicule to riches.
Me: What were your inspirations / influences for this story?
Anne: I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. When I began to think about my inventors’ family, I kept seeing the frenetic Bennet’s from Pride and Prejudice. The Worthington family in The Unseen Wonder is composed of four daughters, a flibbertigibbet mother and a crazy inventor father. I also really enjoyed Gail Carriger’s Souless. The voice of Alexia is so distinctive and her world completely sucked me in. I wanted my lead character Georgina to have a strong voice as well. I also wanted my readers to be more than happy to follow the Worthington’s through the preparation and construction of the most wondrous birthday gift ever.
Me: What advice do you have for anyone looking to write steampunk?
Anne: This advice holds true for all genres, read the best sellers to get an idea of what works. I’ve read quite a few steampunk books. In fact I’m reading one now, Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina. I wanted to write my own take on steampunk but in order to do that I had to read enough of the genre to know how to make my story different. Also you have to love fantasy. World building plays a huge part in steampunk and you need to enjoy coming up with your own unique setting for your story.
Me: Where can we purchase The Unseen Wonder?
Anne: The Unseen Wonder is out as its own mini ebook by Chamberton Publishing. Find it here http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Wonder-Chimera-Series-ebook/dp/B00A8M82TG/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1353098986&sr=8-18&keywords=chamberton+publishing
It is available on Amazon and soon on Barnes and Nobel. The story is also included in Gaslight: The Golden Light Anthology.
Victoria, thank you so much for having me as a guest on your fantastic blog.
Me: Thanks for taking part Anne! Here’s some more information on Anne who I know is sure to be a huge hit in the writing world!
Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne went to FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in Victorian Homes Magazine (another passion) and a non-fiction story in The Best Women’s Travel Writing of 2011 about her time living in Tokyo, Japan. Going Underground won the gold Sola award for best cultural travel story. Anne also writes fiction and her steampunk story, The Unseen Wonder, is published in the historical anthology, Gaslight: A Golden Light Anthology and also as a stand-alone mini-ebook in the Chimera Series. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including blue tabby that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t.
Have you read steampunk before?