Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Meet Kaitlin Branch and Valeria
Sometimes, ya just gotta let your hair down.
Mache Harcming is an airfoil pilot having a bad day. Forced to make an emergency landing on an unmarked dirigible, he discovers a genius inventor, Valeria. She is beautiful, fascinating, and unlike any woman he has ever known before. She’s also dangerous. Mache is certain if the CEO of her company, Elthgo Inc., discovers his presence aboard her aircraft, he will die.
But Valeria begs him to stay. And stay he does, hiding in the vents of the airship whenever the CEO visits. How can he refuse such a beautiful woman. More importantly, how long will the ruse last before he’s found out?
WARNING: Brief torture scene
A Lyrical Press Steampunk Romance, coming November 5, 2012!
Some questions we asked Kaitlin.
Steampunk is a relatively new genre. What attracted you to it?
Originally it was a visual aesthetic to me - I saw it a lot at Anime Central and Anime North when my husband and I attended in 2010. But then I discovered that several friends of mine from high school and earlier were pretty into the genre. Suddenly I was up to my neck in Steampunk and decided it was the most amazing thing ever. The costuming is some of my favorite, because it is easy to elicit really strong visuals while writing, but another aspect is the alternative history. A friend is working on a Steampunk novel set in a world where the civil war breaks out again and basically decimates everything. Finally, the opportunity to put a fresh face on an old story, in Valeria's case, Rapunzel, was pretty much irresistible.
Did you find that the genre already had certain elements you had to include? Is there a little or a lot of leeway in creating a world?
As mentioned before, there is a huge amount of flexibility in the Steampunk world. One can be on land, in the air or in the sea with Steampunk, just as they can be in the Victorian, Civil War, or even a brand new Dystopian era. However, there were three things that I knew I just had to have, simply because I dig them. First, a dirigible. When I attended a Steampunk formal in my hometown of Omaha, NE, I wound up sitting at the Airship Captain table, and found myself carried away with thoughts of steam powered airships. Second, corsets. I wear them, I love seeing other people wear them, and most of my other either don't have the setting or the characters to pull it off. Finally, goggles. Because if all else fails and you need to look Steampunk, toss on some epic goggles and you'll be covered.
Tell us a litte bit about your characters.
The cast for Valeria is rather small, but the characters pack a punch! Mache Harcming is essentially a good guy with a big case of the 'young and not sure what to do with his life'. He is a pilot for what boils down to a package delivery service which was established once the first big airships were able to fly consistently and constantly. Cheap overheads get the best of him when his glider breaks down, and he's forced to make a landing on a strange airship. There he meets Valeria, a brilliant inventor. Valeria is incredibly intelligent, working for a large industrial company, however he quickly finds that in some ways, she's also very naive, having been alone on the dirigible for most of her life. These characters were kind of challenging to write, because I had to walk the line between the "she's smarter than him, but hopelessly naive" trope and inevitability. I'm hoping I managed it!
Is this your first published novel? Do you intend to continue with this genre? What else are you working on?
Valeria is my first published novel! While I do plan on writing more Steampunk in the future, I'm currently caught up in a paranormal romance series. The first book of that, Pandora's Ring, has been contracted with Lyrical Press, though it's still too early for a release date. I'm also polishing up the first book of The Athele Series, a high fantasy series co-written with my husband, which will be coming out with WriteLife LLC sometime next year.
I'm always fascinated by the processes other writers go through. Do you have any habits as a writer? Do you need to listen to music? Have pictures that represent your characters?
Oh man! Well, for starters, I'm one of those writers that subsists on coffee occasionally. To that end, wherever I am settled, I often have to find one specific spot in which to write, and make it a writing space. This space is more often than not a coffee shop of some flavor. Here in Korea where I currently live, it's a little frozen yogurt and espresso place called Yogerpresso (get it? Yoger...presso?). In my hometown I was known as "that one girl with the hat who writes" at one of the local Panera Breads. However, I've also taken over un-used front rooms and certain chairs in the student center at college. Then, yes, I do need music. Sometimes it's just a noise canceler and people deterrent (people are less likely to bug you with headphones in, I've found) but occasionally I'll hear the perfect song for what I'm writing, and that'll go on repeat for several hours. While the pictures aren't like, necessary per se, I do enjoy my Pinterest boards, which have both likenesses of my characters and inspiration for new characters. And hey, more epic Steampunk pictures can never go amiss!