Jen: 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 www.becmcmaster.com 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.
Jen: 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!