What is Steampunk? with Monica Fairview, author of Steampunk Darcy

Joining us on the blog today is Monica Fairview, author of the recently published Steampunk Darcy.  Monica’s agreed to come on the blog to discuss what the steampunk genre is, and how Pride and Prejudice influenced her latest release!  Please join me in welcoming Monica!

Steampunk Darcy Cover SMALL AVATARThank you, Kimberly, for inviting me to join you here on your blog as part of my Steampunk Darcy release blog tour. Steampunk Darcy is special to me because it’s different from anything else I wrote. It was born out of an urge to do something creative to Pride and Prejudice.

“Something creative?” you might ask. “But we already have plenty of creative rewritings: JA mashups, spinoffs, parodies and paranormals. Do we really need something else?”

When I say “creative,” I mean something different from what I was writing before. My other JA writings are what you would call traditional sequels, set clearly in the Regency era, and carefully following the path set by Jane Austen. Steampunk Darcy, on the other hand, takes a giant leap into the future and projects Darcy into a post-apocalyptic, retro-Victorian world. It’s by no means traditional. It’s not exactly a parody, but it has elements of parody to it. It’s not a mashup, but it’s a mixture of different genres. And yes, it’s based on Pride and Prejudice, completely. But it doesn’t exactly follow Pride and Prejudice. It’s more of the wink, wink type of novel, where fond Janeites will recognize elements of the novel, but perhaps not in quite the same order as they would expect. It’s a novel that’s made up of different elements woven together, so in that sense you could call it a mashup, but it doesn’t quote Jane Austen, so it isn’t quite a mashup either.

So what is Steampunk Darcy?

Perhaps the best way to introduce it to you is to separate it into the difference genres it’s made up of, and explain how each of them works.

  1. Jane Austen-inspired: Steampunk Darcy would be a completely different novel if it wasn’t solidly based on Pride and Prejudice. William Darcy is a descendant of the original Darcy, and he’s very proud of his predecessors. He looks up to his ancestors and models his behavior after them. In the novel, Jane Austen was the Darcys’ biographer, and both Darcy and Seraphene want to conduct research to find out more about the couple. At the same time, many of the characters echo characters in the original novel. Wickham is there, as is Georgiana. Lady Catherine is now Darcy’s step-mother. There are other parallel characters, but it’s up to you to find those out. The events of the novel, while based on Pride and Prejudice, often have a twist to them so they don’t necessarily follow the same plot-line, but there are points where the two plots intersect.
  2. Post-apocalyptic: Steampunk Darcy takes place several years after a disastrous environmental flood caused by slime rain. Darcy is involved in reclaiming the land and protecting Bostontown from slime rain. Seraphene is involved in research into the past. Her concern is the social aspects of the new society. The two of them have a similar objective, which is to help build a society that looks toward the past for inspiration, but their perspectives are so different they inevitably clash. Because of the environmental disaster caused by fossil fuels, the new society has reverted back to the Age of Steam, but again with a difference – the source of energy is solar rather than coal-based. In effect, people have been thrown back into a second “Victorian” era. The positive aspect of it is that it’s a period of high creativity as society is forced to adapt to a new environment. Oddly enough, it’s an era of optimism. There is a sense of a pioneering spirit in a way, which is why I set Steampunk Darcy in the US.
  3. Steampunk: Steam is the key here, as well as the energy and inventiveness of the Victorians. It’s not an easy genre to define, because it’s highly individualistic. Steampunk is a form of alternative reality fiction which features the Victorian period, but it also includes actual Victorian fantasy. Some of the earliest novels that have been called Steampunk are HG Well’s Time Machine and Jules Verne’s writings, but Steampunk isn’t limited to novels. It’s in fact more widespread in fashion, art and décor than in writing. You’ll recognize it when you see it. It’s more common than you think.
  4. Romance: Darcy and Lizzy? The sparks must fly. William Darcy is no less arrogant that Fitzwilliam, and no less powerful. He is worth as much as the original Darcy if not more. On top of it, he’s a rather splendid specimen. William Darcy is a delicious hero. But that doesn’t mean Seraphene’s going to swoon at his feet. When he proposes to take her on as an employee, she says no. Seraphene, like Lizzy, is sassy, sharp and doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. She’s a heroine that gives Darcy a run for his money.

Four genres in one. Quite a blend, but that’s why writing Steampunk Darcy was such a wonderful challenge. The nice thing about it is that it could be read on any of these levels alone and it would still make sense. However, when reading it on all levels you are able to get the full creative experience.

Steampunk DarcyA 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 a pair of fine eyes and an attitude.

Monica FairviewAuthor Bio:

Monica can be described as a gypsy-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 was An Improper Suitor, a humorous Regency. 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 sequel to Emma in Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It (Ballantine). Steampunk Darcy is her latest novel.

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. 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 http://www.monicafairview.com, austenauthors.net, www.monicafairview.blogspot.com on Facebook and on Twitter @Monica_Fairview

12 thoughts on “What is Steampunk? with Monica Fairview, author of Steampunk Darcy

  1. I really appreciated “The other Mr Darcy” and its sequel “The Darcy Cousins” by Monica Fairview, but this sounds quite different! I’m not so fond of P&P inspired novels set in a differnt time from Regency era, but I think that, given Monica Fairview’s narrative skils, I should give this novel a chance. It sounds fun!

    • Irene — how lovely of you to say you liked my other work! I hope you do give Steampunk Darcy a try. Let me know what you think.

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