Guest Post: Modern Romance in Steampunk
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes author and guest blogger AR DeClerck.
AR is here today to talk about the balance between Victorian restraint and modern sexuality in her Steampunk stories.
Take it away AR!
Modern Romance in Steampunk: Victorian Restraint and Modern Sexuality
A lot of readers tell me that steampunk is dry reading. Dry? The flowery language of Victorian times, the restraint and decorum of the upper-class, and the singular understanding of ‘romance’ make it much harder to tell a ‘spicy’ romantic story. Right?
Wrong. In all actuality writing a romance novel inside the constraints of what was considered ‘acceptable’ during Victorian times makes it a considerably challenging task. It is not, however, impossible. In steampunk romance there are many considerations that take into account the class of the characters, the setting in which they meet and become romantically involved, and the secret way that couples communicate. Upper class Victorian couples did not, as a matter of course, engage in sex before marriage but that doesn’t mean that romance was dead. Secret rendezvous, stolen kisses and innuendo were as arousing as actual physical contact.
With steampunk there are considerably less restraints on the author writing romance. This is an alternate evolution of the history of the world, in which the Industrial Revolution went by the wayside in favor of steam power. Anything and everything is possible when the author has full license over the history of the world. Writers can choose to keep the heavy strictures of society or to leave them by the wayside all together. With a hero and heroine engaged in life filled with steampunk history, they have all the advantages of modern couples. Equality, acceptance of sexuality, and even the possibility for pre-marital sex if the author chooses it. (I tend to write my steampunk characters inside the historically accurate societal boundaries because I like to make them extremely uncomfortable when they end up breaking these rules in order to be together. It lends itself to humor and gives me some complex issues to work against.)
In The Alchemist’s Kiss, Icarus and Cora Mae are not your typical Victorian couple. They live together, work together, and usually argue together, in a time when such a partnership would be the talk of the ton. Add to that the fact that Cora was born and raised in America, and society already has an instant dislike for their relationship. Why, then, does it work? This is a London where magic is accepted and practiced without stricture; a time when science and steam are fighting with magic for dominance. Icarus is the protector of London, its Warden, and so with his status comes some acceptance of his unusual relationship with his protégé.
SO to all those readers who wonder if steampunk romance is filled with dry British humor and awful innuendo, the answer is YES. But, it is also a genre where ANYTHING is possible. That means that authors can write steamy sex scenes between upper-class Lords and Ladies, they can show the kinky, the sexy, and the deeply emotional side to these relationships because their worlds are simply that. THEIR WORLDS. Romance is entirely possible in steampunk. You can find every type of romance, from sweet, to fade-to-black, to as-hot-as-you-like-it because nothing is impossible.
For those who haven’t tried steampunk before I’d suggest Bec McMaster as a starting point. Her London Steam series mixes paranormal romance with steampunk and eases the transition for most readers. The heroes are HOT, the heroines strong and capable and the romance sizzling.
Thank you AR for helping us to understand Romance in Steampunk stories and the delicate balance of Victorian restraint and modern sexuality.
AR DeClerck is a wife, mother of 2 and an avid reader and writer. She lives in the Quad Cities, IL along the Mississippi with her husband and 2 daughters. She reads as much as she can, and writes in every spare moment. She writes adventure romance in many sub-genres like scifi, steampunk and fantasy.
Find AR through the following:
The Clockwork Countenance (part of the Infinite Possibilities Box Set)
Tags: Steampunk romance