Monday, March 16, 2015

The Perils of Writing Steampunk by Leigh Statham + Giveaway!

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I’m happy to be a part of the The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl tour today! I’ve got Leigh here to talk to us about what it’s like to write steampunk, and you can also enter to win before you go! First, let’s see what this book is all about:

The Perils of Writing Steampunk by Leigh Statham + Giveaway!The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
Published by Month9Books on March 17th 2015
Genres: Steampunk, YA
Buy on Amazon

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except she suspects she may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family's steam forge.

When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. But the trip proves more harrowing than she had anticipated, revealing secrets and testing her strength as well as her heart. Love, adventure and restitution await her in Canada, but only if she can survive the voyage.

Guest post by Leigh Statham

The Perils of Writing Steampunk

Steampunk is one of the most exciting and freeing genres to write. If you are a history buff, it’s great because you get to research to your heart’s content. But the creative types get to embellish and change all the things they don’t like. However, like any other speculative fiction genre, it still holds its challenges.

For example, I was up to my armpits in researching 17th century French party food (not an easy topic to uncover) when I realized that even though I wanted to stay true to the period, I could fudge a bit and get really creative. After all, I already wrote in mechanical farm workers and a robot lady’s maid, why not keep going with experimental orchestral instruments, exotic food, and serving trays that serve themselves. The tricky part of writing like this is hanging on to your readers. If you get too carried away, your story won’t be believable.

Iย recently read a steampunk novel set in London (which most are) that I was enjoying immensely. It had great characters, a really fun murder mystery premise, and magical elements to explain the alternate history. Unfortunately, about halfway through I realized not only were there all these great details, but a large part of the plot now also revolved around time travel and different dimensions as well. For me, that was the point where I gave up enjoying the book. It was just too much for me to swallow. Other people might really enjoy a complicated plot like that, but I think the majority of readers deserve a smart plot with good writing and well developed characters. The more complicated it gets, the harder it will be to appeal to a large fan base.

For my book, I decided to base it on my French-Canadian ancestors. I’d been doing a lot of genealogy research and found that part of my family tree very fascinating. Since most steampunk books are set in London or old west America, I thought it would be a fun new twist to write about France under Louis the XIV.

Next I decided that I didn’t want to use a different dimension or magic to explain the advanced technology in my book. I am a big fan of science. I’m always excited to hear what the latest discoveries are in our world and beyond. So I decided to make my own great discovery – a new element that could be used to harness the power of the sun. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure my book is the only steam-powered story run on solar power.

Next, I decided to stay true to my time period. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to get carried away, but I wanted to make sure I included as many true details as possible. I think that’s what makes Steampunk so rewarding to read and write. Not only is if fun and exciting, keeping an eye out for the nuggets of actual truth makes you feel like you’re actually learning something while you spend hours curled up on the couch under a blanket reading the day away.

Once I had my rules in place, it was just a matter of writing a decent plot with real characters – and that’s the job of any writer.

The next time you read or write any type of fantasy, keep an eye on the world and how it’s built. What are the rules? Do they stay consistent? Do they make sense? Do they support or hinder the plot? Are they original and exciting? If you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to understanding speculative fiction and you’ll be able to write better stories yourself.

Cheers loves! And happy reading!
Leigh Statham


About the Author

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

This post is part of the Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl blog tour.
Click on the banner for the full tour schedule!





Thanks to Month9Books, you can enter to win yourself a copy of this book! Up for grabs:
–Three (3) winners will receive a physical copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
–Three (3) winners will receive a digital copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham

Open internationally
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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20 Responses to “The Perils of Writing Steampunk by Leigh Statham + Giveaway!”

  1. Sarah C.

    This book sounds awesome! I love steampunk and it will be so interesting to read about French history too. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Interesting! I’m not particularly a huge history buff, so I’m not too aware of the details, but I enjoy reading it in books. I do get annoyed when authors don’t stick to the time period, however. I’ll have to check this book out.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ramona

    Argh! Steampunk is like hot chocolate for me – I can NEVER have enough ๐Ÿ™‚ Great giveaway, Giselle (open internationally too, woot!)

  4. Rashika

    I love what Leigh has to say! I can only imagine how easy it is to get carried away when you’re world building (BUT RESEARCHING FOOD IS FUN.. I haz priorities).

    I don’t consider myself a history buff (I say this as I watch Drunk History… which is incredibly amusing) but at the same time, I do enjoy history and learning about stuff in the past.

    It makes me so happy that this book is set in France though! ๐Ÿ˜€ All the steampunks are set in the UK and seeing that change in setting makes me verreh happy.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely guest post with us, Gee!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Darlene Cruz

    ever since I did a tour of Raven by Pauline Creeden I became a fan of steampunk. I am still in awe of that book! Thanks for the giveaway and your awesome and informative blog.