Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Steampunk Darcy! Guest Post with Monica Fairview

Please help me welcome author Monica Fairview to A Buckeye Girl Reads. She's here today talking about her newest book, Steampunk Darcy! 

Title: Steampunk Darcy 
Author: Monica Fairview
Publisher: White  Soup Press
Number of Pages: 330 

Buy Link: Amazon

A Pride and Prejudice-Inspired Comedy Adventure William Darcy is obsessed with his ancestors. So much so that he intends to rebuild Pemberley (destroyed during the Uprising) stone by stone, and he wants to employ reconstruction expert Seraphene Grant to help him. Or does he? Seraphene wasn’t born yesterday. She can smell a rat, particularly when it stinks all the way up to her airship. She knows Darcy is hiding something. But with the Authorities after her and her other options dwindling by the moment, the temptation of genuine English tea and a gorgeous Steampunk gentleman are very difficult to resist. But what if Darcy’s mystery job courts nothing but trouble? What if Darcy is harboring a secret to kill for? When kiss comes to shove, will Darcy’s secret destroy Seraphene, or will it be her salvation? Join us on a romantic adventure like no other in this whimsical Pride and Prejudice-inspired tribute, featuring Darcy (of course) Wickham, dirigibles, swash-buckling pirates and a heroine with fine eyes and an attitude.

Steampunk Darcy: What’s Darcy doing in Future Bostontown?

Thank you, Colette, for this opportunity to visit your blog and meet some of your readers. It’s a pleasure to be here today. The main question I want to address today is: So what’s Darcy doing in future Bostontown? I’ll also talk a little bit about Steampunk Darcy to give you a sense of what the novel is about.

I lived in the Boston area for about ten years and I loved the sense of history there. For two of those years I actually lived in Marblehead, which has some of the oldest houses in the USA. Then when I moved to the Boston suburbs proper I loved strolling around Beacon Hill – with its gaslights, old cobbled streets and suggestion of times past. In my mind’s eye, I could see Victorian ladies strolling around, twirling their parasols.

When I decided to write about a Victorian Darcy, the logical possibility would have been to set it in London, especially since I now live in England, just outside London! But every time I started writing about London, I hit a brick wall. For some reason I kept imagining Darcy living on the Charles River. There’s an old art deco building on the river that used to belong to Polaroid – it’s a distinctive landmark. Somehow it seemed perfect because Polaroid developed some imagining techniques there that related to the retro-imagining Darcy and Seraphene are working on. I could just see the steamboats passing under Darcy’s window, the scene was so vivid. So eventually I came to accept that the original Darcy’s descendant would have to live in Boston. It wasn’t really a far fetch, because I’d already written about an American branch of the Darcy family in my two other novels. So I made that Polaroid building into Darcy’s laboratory, Longbourn, though in the novel it’s red brick, not white stucco, and future Bostontown was born.
Moving on, I thought perhaps the best way of introducing Steampunk Darcy would be to give you readers some information about the novel – just the tiniest whiff to introduce you to its flavor.

Ten Snippets of information about Steampunk Darcy
1.    Steampunk Darcy is a post-apocalyptic novel. It’s set in future Bostontown. The planet has been destroyed by an environmental disaster. Slime rain, coupled with coastal flooding, has wiped out a huge number of animals and plants. People have fled to the floating citiships. However, by the time the story begins several cities across the American Republic have reclaimed the land around them and are covered by biodomes. I hope the steam-operated air-circulation machines don’t break down.

2.    The hero, William Darcy, is a direct descendant of Fitzwilliam Darcy. He has the same haughty pride and of course he’s very aware of his family background. He regards the original Darcy as his role model for gentlemanly code of behaviour. He’s handsome in an anime kind of way, with raven hair streaked with metallic silver, and likes to wear green frock-coats.  

3.    The heroine, Seraphene Grant, is an aviator and part-time scientific investigator at MIT. She’s a kick-ass heroine with an attitude and a past to live up to. She ain’t going to let Darcy run all over her, not if she can make him stumble.
4.    Thar be pirates in the novel, although they show up a bit later in the show. They’re a pretty ruthless lot. Luckily, they’re on Seraphene’s side.

5.    The novel has elements from Pride and Prejudice, but if you don’t know Pride and Prejudice that isn’t a problem. You’ll miss a few of the in-jokes, but you’ll still enjoy the romance and the Steampunk elements.
6.    Seraphene lives in an area of old Boston just under Beacon Hill. It’s called Crooked Lane and it’s an independent community inhabited by people who don’t want to be permanently wired to the Grid because they consider the Grid to be an intrusion on their privacy.
7.    The environmental disaster that proved so destructive was predicted by Seraphene’s parents, both researchers at MIT. They were jailed for their predictions by the repressive government that was overthrown by the Uprising.
8.    Darcy is nicknamed The Boss. Is he involved in anything shady? That’s for Seraphene to find out.
9.    Longbourn has a circular floating garden above it. In a section I cut out, the press describe the garden as a halo.
10. The novel has its serious bits and of course it’s a romance so by definition it has its intense moments, too, but come to the book prepared to laugh because it’s a comedy. 

Chapter 1

Alright, Mr. Hoity-Toity. This had better be good. I’m risking skin and bone to get here.
The door opened and she strode into—.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t an office. It was an emporium, a museum and the Great Exhibition of 1851, complete with Victorian gents and ladies who had the glazed look of trophy animals. Except that the Victorians were standing around instead of hanging on the wall.
“Are these actual people? Did you have them stuffed and embalmed?” she asked, by way of greeting, “Or are they wax figures, like Madame Tussauds?”
In the gloomy gas lamp-lit interior, she couldn’t tell which one of them was William Darcy until he stepped forward and bowed.
“Welcome to Longbourn Laboratories, Miss Grant.”
The smirk fell off her face.
Raven black hair with a green swirl draped over his left eye. Silver eyes like the sheen of a dagger. 
Gorgeous was not the right word for him. Gorgeous was a word invented for ordinary mortals. This particular specimen was splenderous. She didn’t know if it was a real word but it was the right one.
For just a second, she had a sense of vertigo.
Vertigo? A seasoned aviator like me? To bring herself back down to earth, she focused on the flaws in his appearance. The tailored green frockcoat that skimmed the top of his knees was shipshape, except for the fluffy bits (cotton? Did he manufacture cloth?). His silver cravat would have done the most demanding gentleman proud, but it looked crooked, as if he’d been tugging at it. The silver earpiece with jade stones matched perfectly with his outfit, but it was lopsided as if he’d put it on in a hurry. Everything about him suggested a need to keep moving.
Looking for his flaws hadn’t helped at all. If anything, it had given her a chance to ogle him more closely, which somehow had an undesirable effect on her knees – and other parts of her. Her knees especially.
Nobody turned Seraphene’s knees soggy. Not without her permission.
Her gaze drifted back to his face.
He was scrutinizing her with his right eyebrow slanted arrogantly upwards, a monocle in hand.
She was definitely averse to arrogant eyebrows and she absolutely did not like monocles, no matter how fashionable they might be.
That put some backbone into her knees. She snapped out of it. He could be as splenderous as he wanted. She was here to do a job, and unless he happened to be interested in dead-end scientific research, which was her legal work, then he wanted her for something illegal and she intended to make him pay through his teeth. That meant she couldn’t afford to even look in his splenderous direction or he might just manage to distract her.  
She looked at the closest surface to her, which was a shelf, and there, casually cast there – too casually --was a print newspaper with a large headline announcing the opening of the Great Exhibition with a daguerreotype photograph of Queen Victoria.
She examined the newspaper. She could have sworn it was the genuine article. Yellowed pages, jagged edges and all. It would fetch a good price. She wondered if he would notice if she nicked it. Her hand twitched.
“It’s authentic,” said the deep, British-sounding voice. “You may have it if you like.”
It was a bribe. She knew it, and he knew it. He’d chosen that newspaper deliberately to entice her.
“No thanks,” she said, putting her hands behind her back and holding them tightly together. The newspaper was bait but she wasn’t going to play fish.
“Take it with you when you leave, then,” said Darcy, with bored indifference. He took down the newspaper, folded it, and tossed it – tossed it! – onto the neighboring chair. Seraphene cringed. It was like tossing a Spode china cup onto a side table.
She refused to be rattled by his pretentious disdain for valuable objects.
“You sent me an invitation, Mr. Darcy.” A flat statement of fact.
“Call me Darcy. Most people do. May I call you Seraphene? It makes negotiating much less cumbersome. I’m delighted you agreed to see me, Seraphene.”
There was definitely something smug about the way he said it. He was taking her for granted, assuming she’d agree to any terms he set.
He didn’t know her yet.
“I wouldn’t exactly call it agreeing.” Though technically, she supposed she had, just by showing up. “Perhaps I came out of curiosity.”
“Of course. I’d counted on that. It’s every scientist’s weakness.”
She was tempted to point out that it must be his as well, but she bit her tongue. Just because she didn’t like his arrogance didn’t mean she should start being petty. Besides, she was ready to bet he hadn’t invited her here because she was a scientist. 
“Let’s get down to business, then,” she said. “If you have cargo to unload I might as well warn you that I charge a high price for anything that involves risk.”
His silver grey eyes glimmered in amusement.
Hades’ hounds! Those eyes could melt whatever was left of the icebergs. They certainly turned something inside her to slush. She struggled to pull her scrambled thoughts together.
At this rate, she’d be selling her soul to him within the next three seconds. Now she knew how he’d earned his reputation for never taking no for an answer. He turned his victims into jelly-legged squat-fish the moment they walked through the door.
He’s probably counting on having this effect on me.
The thought worked like a splash of cold water. It dampened her pheromone-controlled response long enough to unscramble her thoughts into something close to logic.
“I see you like to come straight to the point,” he said. “Good. I like that in my employees.”
“May I point out, Mr. Darcy, that I haven’t agreed to anything, let alone being your employee.”

Monica Fairview is an ex-literature professor who abandoned teaching criticism about long gone authors who can’t defend themselves in order to write novels of her own. Monica can be described as a wanderer, opening her eyes to life in London and travelling ever since. She spent many years in the USA before coming back full circle to London, thus proving that the world is undeniably round.
Monica’s first novel, An Improper Suitor, a humorous Regency, was short-listed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hassayan prize. Since then, she has written two traditional Jane Austen sequels: The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins (both published by Sourcebooks) and contributed a short sequel to Emma in Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It (Ballantine).
Originally a lover of everything Regency, Monica has since discovered that the Victorian period can be jolly good fun, too, if seen with retro-vision and rose-colored goggles. She adores Jane Austen, Steampunk, cats, her husband and her impossible child.

If you'd like to find out more about Monica, you can find her at: 

Buy Link: Amazon