Interview & Contest: Bec McMaster

Bec McMaster PhotoJen:  Today we are excited to welcome Bec McMaster to Romancing the Book.  Bec, will you share a short bio with us?
Bec:  Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. The third book in the London Steampunk series, My Lady Quicksilver will be in stores in October 2013. Read more about her at or follow her on Twitter @BecMcMaster.

Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Bec:  Heart of Iron is the second book in my London Steampunk series and occurs three years after the events in Kiss of Steel.

Lena Todd has returned to the aristocratic Echelon, but it’s not the fairytale world that she remembers from her youth. When a trusted friend tempts her into helping a ruthless organization that might just be trying to tear the Echelon down, she realizes she’s in well over her head.

The only man who can help her is the dangerous Will Carver, a man the world believes would be safer locked in a cage. A man who believes that might just be the truth too.

Heart of Iron is about finding your place in life and who you want to be, for both Will and Lena. I guess the inspiration came from that, because we’ve all had that moment in life where we didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

Heart of Iron CoverJen: What age did you discover writing?  Tell us your call story.
Bec:  I can’t remember the first time I picked up a pen, but I do remember my primary school teachers pleading with me for ‘no more horse stories’. In a way, I’ve been creating worlds and stories for my whole life.

My call story starts in October 2010, when the idea for Kiss of Steel hit me with a vengeance. Since I had entered the first couple of chapters in a full manuscript contest, I needed to have the whole thing finished by January 2011, just in case it actually finalled.

It did, and I began entering contests with an eye toward the final judges. Leah Hultenschmidt from Sourcebooks was the final judge of the Sheila that year, and requested the full. I sent it a week later, not expecting to hear back for a few months, but two nights later I received a late night phone call from her, saying she loved it.

I can’t remember much of that conversation – cue hysteria – but my boyfriend still jokes about me leaping around the house in the early hours of the morning like an Olympic gymnast.

Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Bec:  I think Will looks a little more like Taylor Kitsch, only much bigger, but somehow I could see Sam Worthington playing the role, if he went for dark and brooding.

Lena is more definite. A flirtatious Natalie Portman all the way.

Jen:  If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Bec:  This changes, but at the moment I’ve just sat through a Spartacus marathon, so I’m thinking ancient Rome for all those hot, half-nekkid gladiators. I would take soap. And oil, because those gladiators need to be oiled up by someone. And last but not least, I’d take a fair dose of fantasy, because I know ancient Rome would be much smellier, crueler and dangerous than what I’m thinking at the moment.

Jen:  Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Bec:  I never used to think that I identified with my characters, but the more I think about Honoria from Kiss of Steel, the more I see bits of myself, mainly in the way she views her family. She’s Lena’s older sister by a few years and when the siblings are forced to flee into the rookeries at the start of Kiss of Steel, she has to use every resource she has to protect her younger siblings. I loved playing with the relationship between the three Todd siblings; Honoria, Charlie and Lena. What lengths would you go to in order to protect your brother and sister? I can appreciate that, because I’m the protective older sister myself and a lot of Honoria’s emotions came from what I would do in that situation.

Of course, she’s her own character in her own right. She makes mistakes. And she and Lena had a tense relationship in Kiss of Steel, which was fun to explore, because when your whole life has been torn out from under you, you’re not going to react with sunshine and smiles. Times are tough for the Todd’s. They fight and argue and say things they probably shouldn’t – the same as my own sisters and I – but in the end they love each other fiercely. That relationship was one of the more interesting to explore in Kiss and it definitely expands in Heart of Iron. The situation has changed, but there are still underlying tensions between Honoria and Lena.

Jen:  What do you do in your free time?
Bec:  There is this myth called free time…

I work part-time and also fit in about 30-40 hours a week with my writing, so free time is a rare and glorious beast. I love to read but it often only occurs on my lunch breaks or when I’m at the hairdressers or waiting for appointments.

I love cooking and baking and I also run or try to go to the gym regularly because a) I love cooking and baking. In winter I play competitive netball and I’m addicted to travel, so I’m always planning the next trip somewhere overseas. Occasionally I do housework. Usually when I’ve hit a speed-bump in the work in progress or when there are no clean socks or undies left.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Bec:  My Lady Quicksilver is due out in October 2013 and features Sir Jasper Lynch, the Master of the Nighthawks – a Guild of thief-catchers and trackers who work the rooftops of London – and the masked revolutionary he’s been charged to bring in. When Lynch realizes that ‘Mercury’ is a woman, he must face the ultimate test. Duty. Or desire. Of course, there’s also the fact that he doesn’t know that the real Mercury could be closer than he thinks, like, right beneath his nose. And pretty.

Thanks so much for having me!

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23 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Bec McMaster

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Hi May – that innovative thinking is one of the things I enjoy most about the genre. I loved historical romance but after a while I found I needed more and steampunk gives me exactly what I need.

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Hi Anne. Unique is definitely right! I love all the possibilities we can play with in steampunk.

  1. Rita Wray says:

    Steampunk is new to me but I’m willing to give it a try. Thank you for the great interview, I enjoyed it.

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Hi Rita! Hope you enjoy your foray into steampunk. I often find it combines elements of other sub-genres – historical romance, fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi etc, so its not always such a leap for the reader to stretch into.

    • Bec McMaster says:

      @Leanna – that’s definitely one advantage! I have a book on Worth and the gowns he designed (one of my heroine’s wears a Worth), and they’re so beautiful. I also saw some lovely costumes at the Victoria and Albert museum when I was in London. Just gorgeous.

  2. BookLady says:

    Steampunk is a new genre for me. The covers look very interesting. What books would you recommend in this genre?

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Hi BookLady. I’ll assume you like romance with your steampunk (: In that case I really enjoyed Zoe Archer’s Skies of Fire, Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke and Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series has very faint touches of it – she’s just such a great writer, I have to recommend her.

  3. Jen B. says:

    I like Steampunk because it is creativity with a hint of crazy. Honestly, the mix of historical and steam powered machines is just so cool! Plus, it gives the author a chance to let loose and let their imagination go wild. However, I am not a big fan of the Steampunk movies. I don’t know why.

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Creativity with a hint of crazy – I think that’s my new tagline (: As for movies, I admit I prefer steampunk in books, but then I wonder if that’s because it focuses strongly on the romance side of things as well.

  4. Joy Whiteside says:

    I love steampunk as it is so unique and different, and you can let your imagination run with it.

    • Bec McMaster says:

      Hi Joy! I feel the same. I think part of the fun for me is that I love historical romances but I was starting to find ideas repetitive, so steampunk is like adding the crazy to that.

  5. Steampunk takes place during a very interesting time period, the 1800’s or so. Then the author does some creative alternate history editing, which I also find fun. The inventions and clothes add another layer of creativeness. And lastly, the mystery and intrigue of the story fascinates me:)

  6. Kamla L. says:

    I love the creative and innovative technologies that authors come up with and how they make it such an integral part of the stories.

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