I have two guests today! First let me introduce Lee Koven. Lee is an online friend who I met through the late great blog Smart Girls Love SciFi Romance. She is also is one of my co-judges of the SFR Galaxy Awards. Lee is here because, like me, she is a fan of my second guest, Bec McMaster. I thought it would be fun to have the two of us interview Bec McMaster. Thanks, Lee, for joining in the fun today and posing some great questions!
Lee says she “is a voracious reader and hobbyist writer. She gets very excited about people connecting with books that they enjoy or find worthwhile. Her passions include programming computers, playing video games, and heavy metal. Like Riley, she adores a good cup of tea and dark chocolate. Site/blog: leekoven.com ”
My second guest – Bec McMaster! She is here because I am a really big fan of her work and I got up the nerve to ask her to share about herself and her new book Mission: Improper. She said yes!
I have to show you something. This is my Kindle page when I search for Bec McMaster. There are not very many authors that take up this much space on my shelf!
I love the entire London Steampunk series. I just started Nobody’s Hero, but with a heroine named Riley, it’s gotta have potential right? I’m jealous of Lee because she has already read (and reviewed) it.
Lee: Nobody’s Hero isn’t like any other book I’ve read. If you like action romance and genre-blending, it may be for you!
Interview With BecMaster
Riley: Bec, Lee and I are big fans, so we are excited to have you visiting the blog today. Thank you for subjecting yourself to some general, personal and possibly impertinent questions.
Bec: Thanks so much for having me, Riley and Lee!
Riley: I’d ask you to tell us about yourself, but there will be a link to your website and it has a great ‘ABOUT’ page that has all sorts of interesting personal details there. Is there anything you would like to add?
Bec: About: Thirty-something paranormal/steampunk romance author seeks readers who like intense world-building; on-the-seat-of-your-pants duels and action; sexy romances with epic stakes; heroines who know exactly what they want; alpha heroes who are quite happy to hold their heroine’s reticule while she takes care of business, but will back her up when need be; darker worlds where it seems all may be lost; a touch of humor to lighten the stakes; and monsters, demons and things that go bump-in-the-night. Heat level: 18+ but not erotic.
Consider that my speed-dating pitch to see if I’m the right author for you. 🙂
Lee: You’ve started three series this year, all published independently. What prompted the move to independent publishing?
Bec: To be honest, it’s something I’ve been keeping an eye on for the last few years, as I’ve watched a few authors move that way. One of my close friends has had great success with it, and has been telling me I must try it for two years. And when Sourcebooks decided that they wanted to wrap the London Steampunk series up at five books, I had a lot of readers clamoring for more. I had the storyline I wanted to work with for the spin-off, and had started layering in clues for that world from book three in London Steampunk, so it made sense to move toward self-publishing. I also love having control over covers, and pricing, as well as being able to publish the books quicker. I’ve always been a fast writer, so now I don’t have to wait 6-9 months to publish a novel. It’s been great fun, and my friend was right: I do love it.
Riley: Will you tell us a little about each series and what is in store for them?
Bec: Sure! As mentioned, I’m kicking off a new London Steampunk spin-off series this month with Mission: Improper. I liken this new spin-off to James Bond meets Dracula, and it’s going to deal with the aftermath of the events that occurred in the first series. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances of people in the East End. The problem? He’s partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting. Read it if you like: spies, vampires, epic battles between the villain and the heroine, sexy bets, escape via dirigible, the hero having to win his heroine via three challenges, meddling dukes, and an elixir that can take all that we know about blue bloods and turn it on its head – AKA weird science.
Also available is Shadowbound, the first book in the Dark Arts trilogy. It’s paranormal romance set in Victorian London, featuring three cursed brothers, a demon, and a world where sorcery is all the rage in occult circles. When a dangerous relic goes missing, Ianthe Martin has to find it–despite the cost–and the only sorcerer she knows who cannot have been involved is the Earl of Rathbourne, whom she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago. Rathbourne wants out, but if Ianthe wants his help, then it’s going to cost her. So they make a sexy little deal: he’ll help her during the day, but her nights are his… Read if you like: revenge plots, a hero dealing with some serious issues, some naughty Victorian antics, a heroine who will sacrifice everything to save the one thing that is most important to her, occult orders, strained brotherly relations, and epic showdowns with magic blazing. Bonus: saucy piano scene.
And lastly, Nobody’s Hero kicks off the Burned Lands trilogy. It’s post-apocalyptic romance, featuring dangerous outlaw and warg, Lucius Wade, who lives only for revenge. When he kidnaps Riley in order to lure an old friend into a trap, suddenly the tables are turned. Riley has no intentions of being bait, and she tempts him in ways he hasn’t felt for a long time. True story? Wade was never supposed to be the hero, hence the title. But the second he strolled onstage the fireworks started, and both Riley and I fell in love with him. One review described this as ‘Mad Max meets Werewolf.’ That’s… pretty-much accurate. Read if you like: intense action, shifters, an anti-hero who needs to find redemption, a heroine who kicks some serious butt, settlers trying to survive a harsh wasteland, revenants (humans infected with a zombie-style virus that came from the asteroid that destroyed society), and a hero who totally revs the heroine’s engine.
So three different series–two of them trilogies–set in very different worlds. I’m halfway through the Dark Arts and Burned Lands trilogies, which will be wrapping up next year.
Riley: One of my favorite things about your steampunk is the mechanical creations. Where do you get your ideas for them. Is there a little bit of the genius mad scientist in you? Where can I get a Cyclops?
Bec: Unfortunately, no mad scientist in me. I’m a Pinterest-junkie (oh, the hour’s I can waste), a long-time sci-fi movie, TV, and book addict, and a click-bait reader on the internet… If there is some random, weird scientific fact I am probably going to follow the link. And a lot of the mechanical creations come from that background. Plus, I think I watched Real Steel, with Hugh Jackman and those fighting robots, and Pacific Rim, about the same time I was finishing the first London Steampunk book, and my mind was like, ‘Yes! We need more monstrous automatons!’ As to where you can get a Cyclops? More coming in future London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy stories. Unless I do a swag line when I am rich and famous. 🙂
Riley: Are you a blueblood or human? Or something else? You can be honest here. We will support you either way.
Bec: I am totally a human, fuelled by a tea-drinking obsession, rather than blood. Though being a blue blood would be pretty cool. All of those anti-aging benefits, and super strength etc.
Lee: You write that you love to travel. Do you draw writing inspiration from your journeys? Have we seen sights from your real-life adventures in any of your books?
Bec: Absolutely! Writing is soul-sustaining, but I’d have to say that travel is a close second in things that I love. I spent a few months living in London in 2008, and there was a lot of wandering down streets and alleys, and visiting museums and such… Basically absorbing everything that appears in my Victorian-set books. As for Burned Lands, I did a tour through North America a few years ago, especially the West, with all those barren deserts and mesas. That probably provides the background for a lot of the setting of my post-apoc. I get to explore Vegas, or what’s left of it, in the next book in the series and I can’t wait.
Lee: What are/were your favorite science fiction or SFR books?
Bec: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre; The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith; Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasey; anything by Linnea Sinclair, though Gabriel’s Ghost is a particular favorite; and I’ve recently read a YA sci-fi by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, called Illuminae, which blew my socks off (seriously, read this book!). Mostly I read SFR or YA SF over hard SF, and I require a kick-ass heroine to really enjoy it.
Riley: See the above question and substitute ‘steampunk’ for ‘science fiction’.
Bec: I would have to go with Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke for this, though Jim Butcher’s, The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a close second. This is another hard one. Where do you stop? There is a lot of great stuff out there, but those two are my I-Would-Sell-My-Soul-To-Meet-Them Authors.
Riley: What are you reading now?
Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu, a steampunk/fantasy-fuelled comic series about a girl with some kind of monster inside her, fighting against the system in a world dominated by class. The majority of the characters are female, and it’s set in an Asian-influenced world, which is quite fascinating. I actually bought this book three times. Kindle wouldn’t display it, so then I ordered the print version via Book Depository but that was going to take three months to arrive, so I finally managed to get it via iBooks. The print copy arrived the other day, and seeing it ‘in the flesh’ is just amazing. Seriously, the artwork (by Sana Takeda) and storyline are purely phenomenal.
I’ve also just gotten my hands on A Promise Of Fire, which is a fantasy-romance written by Amanda Bouchet. The second I saw that cover I had to have it, and there is never enough fantasy-romance in the world. I’m beyond excited. It just arrived this morning, so I’ve had a quick peak, and forced myself to put it down. It’s going to be my reward for hitting my word count this week. If I make my daily goals, I get a half hour with the book. Which sounds like a really adult way of me being responsible, but is totally going to end with me sitting up to 3am in the morning, I suspect.
Thanks for joining us today Bec! What a fun interview! And thanks for providing us with an excerpt……
Here’s an excerpt from Mission: Improper, in which Caleb Byrnes finds a juicy lead to the case they’re working, and intends to go undercover alone, only to get outplayed by his reluctant partner, Ingrid:
“You’ll get him killed,” Caleb Byrnes growled.
“That’s why I’m going.” Walking smoothly, Ingrid trailed her fingers along the desk, stalking behind Lord Debney. “I can keep an eye on Debney to protect him, while you’re sneaking around the estate. It’s perfect.”
If a blue blood could sweat, Debney looked like he’d be doing it. “Wasn’t my idea.”
Byrnes didn’t take his gaze off her. “Oh, I guessed that. I should never have told you about the lead.”
“Au contraire, you should have told me from the start, and we could have come up with a feasible plan together. I might have allowed you to work my case.” Ingrid leaned over the desk. “As it is, I might still allow you to join us. Someone needs to play valet.”
Might? Might? Byrnes rested his knuckles on the mahogany, and loomed closer, until her breath brushed his cheek. “I thought you were chasing up that theory about the Doeppler Orbs.”
“Jack’s still looking into it for me. Results should be due in around twenty-four hours, and oh, look, I seem to have the time to fit in a side excursion.”
“Give me one good reason,” Ingrid countered, her voice thickening, and the bronze rings around her pupils flaring.
Usually a good time for any sane man to run. Verwulfen were rash, passionate creatures, and he’d since learned that Ingrid was dangerous when her verwulfen nature was roused. “Because I said so.”
She leaned toward him, and there was a heat in her eyes that indicated she was one second away from pouncing upon him.
He crossed his arms over his chest. Oh yes, my dear. Anytime you’re ready, I can take you.
Debney cleared his throat. “Just in case anyone is interested in my opinion, I’ve decided that I’m only going if Ingrid goes, and I’m the one with the invitation. She can pretend to be my mistress.”
Ingrid brushed a piece of non-existent fluff off her sleeve.
“Be reasonable, Caleb.” Debney’s expression was long-suffering. “It’s a better idea than your own. You’ve only got your back up, because someone else came up with it. And I’m not going to risk my hide, without at least two people to watch my back.”
“I can circle the ballroom, while you’re skulking about Ulbricht’s study,” Ingrid countered. “Three sets of eyes, instead of one.”
Maneuvring him like a chess piece. “I’m not Debney. You’ll need to work harder than that to convince me.”
“What makes you think I need to convince you?”
“The fact that you’re trying.”
“How about this, then? First challenge,” Ingrid said softly, meeting his gaze. “Prove to me that you’re worth the risk. Prove to me that you can compromise, when you need to. I’m not interested in… selfishness, Caleb.”
Every muscle in his body locked into stone. She was accepting his dare. But– No! Not like this. “Miller.”
“You won’t get another chance.” Those dark lashes fluttered down, obscuring her amber gaze.
He stood arrested. Frustration clashed with sheer want. If he didn’t submit, then she’d no doubt never let him so much as touch her. Oh, she’d trapped him so neatly. He was furious. And aroused. “The prize had better be worth it.”
“I’ll let you know what I’ll consider.” Ingrid’s smile held satisfaction: his statement was pure capitulation. Pushing away from the desk, she took her seat in the corner, crossing her legs.
God. Damn. It.
Debney coughed, reminding them off his presence. “So we’re all going, then?”
Byrnes gave a curt nod. “Let me go get my things, and send for the dirigible. My lord.” He shot one last glare at Ingrid, as he strode from the room.
Patience. Just a little patience, and she could be his.
About Mission: Improper
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order…
Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.
The problem? He’s partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.
Soon they’re chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite… But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.
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About Bec McMaster
Visit Bec McMaster’s website for lots of great information including every buy link could might need, 20 Random Facts about Bec, and her blog! http://www.becmcmaster.com/