Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Steampunking Anne Stuart

There are very few writers I consider grandmasters; that sort of storyteller is one who spends a lifetime working at and developing their art. They must also be uniquely gifted, an unwavering lover of the words, and on top of all that a steadfast survivor who never gives up, no matter how tough things get. At the very top of my short list of grandmasters is author Anne Stuart.

The winner of multiple major publishing honors including several RITAs and a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award, Anne Stuart has been writing books for close to forty years now. Her bibliography of novels and series in multiple genres is vast and dazzling, including some of the most provocative and talked-about books in romance. She's daring and unapologetic and completely brilliant with characterizations; all together she delivers stories that are genuine, original and simply unforgettable.

Her latest release, Never Kiss a Rake, is the first novel in her Scandal at the House of Russell series. It's set in 1869 London, so it's full of Victorian-era fun, and I enjoyed it so much I bought a boxful of extra copies to hand out to friends. Anne also kindly agreed to be our September author to interview, so let's ask her some questions:

You've just received a round trip time ticket that allows you to jump back through time to spend one day anywhere in the world during any period in history. Where would you like to go, and what would you like to do while you're there?

Well, that one’s not easy. I’m trying to think of something really happy, and I’m going to sound a bit like a fanatic, but I think I’d like to be there when Christ was born. A) I love babies. B) this was an event that changed the world, in good and bad ways, so it must have been really really magical. Plus, if it happened at night, which presumably it did, it wouldn’t be too hot in the desert.

Failing that, I probably would want to see some magnificent live performance. Not Shakespeare in his own time period – you had to stand for the performance and everyone would be smelly. Maybe Alan Rickman in “Les Liaisons Dangereuse” or maybe the first night of “My Fair Lady.” However, if I could go back and change history then I’d kill Hitler with a suicide bomb (probably the only way to get away with it) or some other crazy-ass monster. Of course, then I wouldn’t need my return ticket.


A package mailed during the late 19th century just arrived on your doorstep, and it contains something you've always wanted that dates from the Victorian era. What's in the package?

Hmmm. I have things that date from the Victorian era, because my grandmother dated from then (everyone has babies when they’re old in my family). I can think of a dozen things – ornate jet jewelry, steamer trunks, heavy silver, brass. Love brass – a brass spyglass would make me happy.

We've hired a steampunk inventor who can make any one gadget, appliance or machine you'd like. What should we tell him to get to work on for you?

Well, that’s tricky. My obvious suggestion would be the perfect steampunk outfit. My second choice would be a fully functional android that looks like this:



If you could cast a magic spell to bring two of your characters to life, which pair would you choose, and why these two?

I’m torn. I’d like one of my historical heroes and heroines because they’re just so naughty, but in the end I’d go for Killian and Isobel in ICE STORM, because they went through so much, for so many years, and managed to carve a happy life out of everything. In fact, that’s true for almost all of the ICE characters, so anyone would do. Otherwise I’d take a wicked Rohan and his true love because their wickedness is vastly amusing. They’re not nearly as bad as they think they are.

After living in a cave in Tibet for forty years I really need something wonderful to read, and the first place I'm going to visit is the Anne Stuart book shop. Which of your novels should I buy first?

Depends whether you want light or dark. I’d say go for BLACK ICE. I’d recommend NIGHTFALL, the book that’s so good it cures cancer, but it’s really really dark, and it takes a little while to get past it. If you want a light, fun historical with a wicked hero go for THE DEVIL’S WALTZ or NEVER KISS A RAKE.

Thank you so much, Anne, for letting us steampunk you. To celebrate the release of Never Kiss a Rake and all that is the marvelous Anne Stuart, I've put together this giveaway:



The giveaway consists of:

A trade paperback copy of Anne Stuart's Never Kiss a Rake and paperback copies of her House of Rohan novels Breathless, Reckless, Ruthless and Shameless

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

MochiMochi by Anna Hrachovec

The Secret Me guided journal by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder

4,000 Years of Uppity Women by Vicki Leon

How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

The Gimble Traveler

A Smart Person Knows What to Say blank journal

The Fall 2013 issue of Victorian Home magazine

A nifty Spy Pen

A Keep Calm and Carry On notepad

A handquilted tote made by Yours Truly

A print of a chibi version of Bryony Russell, the heroine of Never Kiss a Rake, being drawn by my kid in the giveaway pic (and this deserves a close-up):



If you'd like to win the entire pile, in comments to this post name something you've always wanted from the Victorian era by midnight EST on Sunday, September 22, 2013. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner all the giveaway books and goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet so please join in.

(steampunk guy image credit: Mad-makeup)

44 comments:

  1. Lynn,
    Yep, I know why I read your blogs now. You recommend authors I have never read! I have seen Anne Stuarts books, but never purchased one. I'm on my way over to the Amazon website next to see what I can download!
    Something I have always wanted from the Victorian era would actually be two parts: a proper ladies riding habit (top hat included) and a side-saddle for my horse. I know they are dangerous, but I would love to be photographed all dressed out wearing the habit and sitting prettily on my horse. Then I would display the saddle in my house as a work of art (I love old, handcrafted leather pieces).
    Tami
    Jacksonville

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  2. I would love a delicate and intricate Victorian locket

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  3. My appreciation of the Victorian era is pretty recent, so there's nothing I've *always* wanted. But I'd love a hand-knitted shawl or sampler from that time, along with the needles and pattern(s) used to make it. And the story behind it, if there was one.

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  4. A library complete with a "zograscope". A wonderful invention, a zograscope is a frame with a large magnifying glass in. That way it wouldn't matter if I'd left my glasses in another room, I'd still be able to enjoy my books. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway and the introduction to Anne's books.

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  5. I'd love a Victorian opportunity rather than a thing: dinner at the Bronte household. I've read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights several times since I was a kid; I'd love to meet the two very different sisters who authored these books.

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  6. I'm a jewelry maker, so any sort of jewelry from that era would make me deliriously happy. I adore antique store shopping and looking at timepieces, wedding bands, and assorted other gems from that era.

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  7. Little metal buttons from a fancy dress or a pair of opera glasses.

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  8. I'd love to receive a few of those Valentine (or other holiday) postcards that were sent during that period. And a small beaded purse that has satin lining and a tiny mirror.

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  9. I want that android! But, sigh, he's not Victorian.

    I've always wanted a Victorian Grandfather Clock, or rather, the smaller Grandmother Clock. (I have a small house. :)

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  10. I'd love to have yards of exquisite lace and it would be even better if I could browse a shop that offered all the elaborate trimmings for ladies' gowns!

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  11. an umbrella

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  12. Agree on Anne Stuart's status! I love the jewelry of the era--pins, lockets.

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  13. What appeals to me is the tasteful and unique watches for women.

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  14. The lifestyle of wealthy landowners who have a wonderful place which is pastoral and tranquil.

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  15. I'd have to say dresses. And love Anne Stuart...

    Lia

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  16. The print is so lovely. I would want a pair of those lace up heels and some brooches.

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  17. I've always wanted a proper corset...just to try it once.

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  18. I'd have to say clothing from the era...dressed from the skin out and everything that goes with it even a hat and jewelry.
    Jennifer

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  19. Mmm. Crochet hooks or a cuckoo clock. My daughter would insist it be to go back to a time when "almost everyone has horses!"

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  20. Although I would love to have a complete ball gown outfit, with jewels, fan, etc, I think if I had to pick just one thing, I would go with a proper library! I would love to have a gorgeous library such as described in some of my favorite historical romances....I would never want to leave home, LOL.
    ~June

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  21. A collection of Victorian era boots would be divine. I'd probably just line them up so I could look a them because my feet don't even like modern shoes, but they are so pretty!

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  22. The balls, I'd love to go to a ball with the pretty dresses and the formal dinner. Granted I would be the bluestocking that says the wrong thing or dumps champagne on a duke, but... I'd like to go to just one.

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  23. I'd love to have a lace shawl from the Victorian era. I am always knitting shawls, however, I think I've only kept two.

    SandyL

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  24. I've been an Anne Stuart fan from day one. A Rose At Midnight my all time favorite. Now all the paperbacks are being replaced/converted to ebooks to keep up with the times. I'm really into Steampunk romance now so if she wrote a series in that genre I would be in heaven!
    My favorite item would be jewelry as I too am a jewelry designer. Lace, fabrics, original first edition books,the clothing dolls (I forget what they're called).

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  25. I've been reading Anne Stuart since her Harlequin days, like way back! I actually met her once, I think in 1984 at the Romance Writers of America Conference in Detroit. I was so starstruck, I could barely speak! It was amazing because she smiled and said hello, just like a real person!! Since then I've gotten to know her better in other online venues, but I'm thinking I'd still be starstruck to meet her again in person!

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  26. I'd like a corset to make me look voluptuous--which I'm not!

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  27. Fully functional android! *snicker* Anne, you rock!

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  28. A few dresses from that era would be fun to have!

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  29. Omg I'm so happy I found out this interview!

    I love Anne Stuart's Ice series! I'm totally enamored :)

    From the Victorian era I think I would like the clothes and the jewelry, they were pretty cool then.

    Thank you so much!

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  30. I'd love anything Victorian. Anne Stuart is absolutely amazing! Love her books.

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  31. Me too! A corset. A real one, not the commercial ones you can buy now. I do have several Victorian items though because my grandmother was born toward the end of the era and passed down several family things. I have the most beautiful pair of kid gloves, once white but now yellowed with age, with delicate little buttons at the wrist and though I know they were made for an adult, they would have barely fit my girls when they were little. We've grown...

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  32. So much to love... the dresses, the jewelry, the libraries, the manners, the balls, the trunks, dressing room and "closet." So much stuff. How can you chose?

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  33. I'd love to have the Victorian furniture. The couches and chairs were so awesome!

    Anne Stuart is the best !!!!

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  34. A folly. With a turret and arched windows and a balcony. And then the garden to go around it.

    Thanks for the wonderful interview and giveaway.

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  35. A gorgeous Victorian cameo necklace.

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  36. A little evening purse made of beads or a silk shawl with a velvet border. Thanks for the wonderful contest, Lynn -- Nikki

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  37. A Victorian rake to sweep me off my feet!! ;D

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  38. I appreciate the questions asked, so good they drew terrific responses.

    A suite of Victorian jewelry, including tiara, preferably in rubies and diamonds. And a case to hold the assortment.
    Yes, please, thank you very much.

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  39. I would love one of those Victorian travel desks -- the kind with nooks and crannies for pen and ink and paper and that fold out to create a sloped writing surface. So cool!

    And Anne Stuart is wonderful!

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  40. A nice silver tea service complete with sugar tongs. I love tea with all of the ceremony!

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  41. Oh, a tea service would be divine!

    And may I just say that I recently read Anne's "Bewitching Hour" and it was not only the best fun but masterful. Happy sighs.

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  42. Originally I thought clothing, but then I started thinking about rules and layers and got claustrophobic. And in many cases jewelry is the answer. For instance, “Does this dress make my butt look big?” “Yes, throw on a necklace it draws the eyes up.” “Did you just tell me I looked fat?” “No dear, I’m sure it is the bustle; here is a matching bracelet.” But let’s be honest, how many ruby necklaces can pull off a t-shirt and running shorts? So, in reality, if I could pick anything, it would need to be entertaining and something I could actually use. I would want either an original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or the first publication of “A Scandal in Bohemia” in Strand Magazine.

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