A Preview & Guest Blog by Monica Fairview, author of Steampunk Darcy

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2013)Please help me welcome author Monica Fairview today in celebration of the release of her new novel, Steampunk Darcy. This story cleverly combines Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with the Victorian steampunk genre. Get ready, dear readers, to have your bonnets blown off in this creative new twist.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

When Seraphene Grant is offered a job by Longbourn Laboratories’ William Darcy, she is both intrigued and suspicious. Seraphene is trying to stay on the right side of legal, and she can’t think of a single legitimate reason he would want to hire her. She’s determined to put her checkered past behind her and she won’t compromise that for an arrogant descendant of the Darcy family who wants to reproduce his ancestral home.But Darcy has something more risky in mind, and he knows Seraphene is the perfect match for the job. The problem is, he can’t tell her what the job involves. The only way he can gain her trust is to lie about what he is doing! Meanwhile, all Seraphene’s instincts are telling her to run. But in a post-apocalyptic world where well-paid jobs are scarce and charming, wealthy gentlemen in cravats are even scarcer, how can she resist?

Perhaps she should have, because being around William Darcy soon becomes more and more dangerous –– in more ways than one.

Buckle your seats and get ready for a romantic adventure involving swashbuckling pirates, automatons and parasols in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off.

GUEST BLOG

Darcy the hero. As Pride and Prejudice inspired spin-offs have proliferated, we have seen Darcy in many shapes and forms.  Darcy werewolves, Darcy with fangs, Darcy fighting zombies, Darcy playing detective. While this may seem surprising, it is in fact perfectly logical. Darcy is our epitome of a romantic hero, and if that’s the case, then each one of us in turn, writers or readers, has to interpret in our unique way who and what our ideal hero is. Every setting, every generation needs its Darcy. As does the future.

In Steampunk Darcy, William Darcy doesn’t have actual monsters to fight. Instead, Darcy, as a Victorian-style scientist, is out to save the world against – climate change. In the retro-Victorian society of Bostontown, the biggest threat against humans isn’t monsters; it’s the slime rain.

Imagine a world in which roads have been washed away, fossil fuel can no longer be used, and we have reverted to the world of our ancestors – the Victorians. This is the Age of Steam, a word of invention and science, of ladies in pretty dresses and parasols and dapper gentlemen in top hats and frock coats, of barouches and corsets and goggles. It’s the Victorian Era with a difference.  A world in which women are aviators and gentlemen like Fitzwilliam Darcy’s descendent can conduct experiments that may (or may not) enable him to take retro-images of his ancestors, Darcy and Lizzy.

The perfect setting for a hero. Allow me to introduce you to: William Darcy, the ultimate gentleman, and Seraphene, the definitely-not-malleable young lady who, like Lizzy Bennet, doesn’t seem to understand what’s good for her. Or at least, she doesn’t seem to understand that money is what matters, nothing else. She is far more interested in asserting herself than in being sensible, and this is both her flaw and what creates her appeal to both reader and hero. Not that Lizzy would recognize Seraphene in her mirror. Seraphene is the product of a post-apocalyptic context. She’s tough, she’s determined, and she’s suspicious to a fault.

In addition to the hero and the heroine, several of the characters from Pride and Prejudice also appear in Steampunk Darcy, though admittedly with a twist. Mr. Wickham is there to encourage Seraphene in her rejection of Darcy’s arrogance. Gianna is the teenage rebel who trusts too easily. Caro as Miss Bingley will resort to any means to capture Darcy, and Lady Catherine appears on the scene as Darcy’s stepmother who wants to preserve the Darcy family’s good name. Other characters are there, too, but they take on different forms. Seraphene is embarrassed to have Darcy meet her mother, but for entirely different reasons. Her sister Bree, like Lydia, is a clueless teenager, but Steampunk Darcy doesn’t follow the Jane/Bingley plotline, and the Wickham/Lydia story gets transposed onto other characters.

As well as the characters from Pride and Prejudice, many of the themes of Pride and Prejudice come up: Is Seraphene’s prejudice towards Darcy justified? Does Darcy’s preoccupation with Pemberley and pride in his Darcy family heritage affect his relationships with others? Is it possible to transcend class boundaries? And perhaps, most importantly, what constitutes a gentleman? Because that’s what we love most about Darcy, isn’t it? He is able, most unexpectedly, to introduce romance into a social context that judges a man by how large his fortune is, and to show that nobility isn’t about “noble” connections, but about behaving honorably.

After all, isn’t that what’s at the center of Pride and Prejudice? Where can we find a more satirical indictment of that problem than in the first sentence that we all know so well? “A man who is in possession of a fortune…” Notice how Austen says “a man”. This isn’t about anyone specific, it isn’t about Darcy. It isn’t about Bingley. The point is, no one cares who that man is. What is important is how much money he possesses. The conflict is set up on the very first page – between relationships based on material benefit on the one hand and relationships based on something more noble, more meaningful on the other. Marriage, the patronage system typified by the relationship between Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine, the power of money to define a relationship as in Wickham and Lydia’s case are all contrasted with Darcy’s willingness to change, to become more humble, to stand by the heroine at her hour of need.

In Steampunk Darcy, William Darcy is the hero in more ways than one. As the bigger-than-life Boss of the Charles River, he dominates over Bostontown almost literally, since it is he who is responsible for building the biodome that protects the township from the effects of slime rain. Seraphene sees him as a powerful figure whose determination implies a blatant disregard of others. Such power, such control over people’s lives and livelihood (as Darcy would have had over his tenants at Pemberley) can corrupt. We see this in the figure of Darcy’s half-brother Richard. But Darcy, like his ancestor, has a strong gentlemanly code that he consciously follows, and Seraphene comes to learn, like Lizzy Bennet, that he is willing to put that code at her service.

Because at the heart of Steampunk Darcy, as in Pride and Prejudice, is the romance. In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy puts the power of his influence and wealth at the service of the Bennet family, who are staring helplessly into the face of social ruin. In Steampunk Darcy, Wickham is yet again is the means by which William Darcy proves that he is a hero, willing to sacrifice himself for others. And, like his ancestor, he is willing to change, to make himself worthy of the heroine’s love.

But enough said. Any more and I’ll be giving away spoilers. Which won’t do at all.

AUTHOR BIO

Author Monica Fairview (2013)Monica Fairview is an ex-literature professor who abandoned teaching criticism about long gone authors who can’t defend themselves in order to write novels of her own. Monica’s first novel was An Improper Suitor, a humorous Regency. Since then, she has written two traditional Jane Austen sequels: The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins (both published by Sourcebooks) and contributed a sequel to Emma in Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It (Ballantine). Steampunk Darcy is her latest novel.

Originally a lover of everything Regency, Monica has since discovered that the Victorian period can be jolly good fun, too, if seen with retro-vision and rose-colored goggles. She adores Jane Austen, Steampunk, cats, her husband and her impossible child. Visit Monica at her at Monica Fairview Author; Austen Authors; Facebook and Twitter.

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview
White Soup Press (2013)
Trade paperback (328) pages
ISBN: 978-1492193234

Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2013; text Monica Fairview © 2013, Austenprose.com

93 thoughts on “A Preview & Guest Blog by Monica Fairview, author of Steampunk Darcy

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  1. This sounds
    Ike a fun new twist! I enjoy the Darcy as a detective twist,and the werewolves are entertaining stories. I have to admit I wasn’t interested in this until I read the review. Thanks Monica!

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  2. I love this idea, it amazes me that authors can come up with fresh ideas for stories linked to Pride and Prejudice when you consider how many variations, sequels, prequels and alternate genres there are. I’d like to read this one :)

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  3. I’ve bought my copy, so please don’t enter me, but I can’t wait to read this highly original spin on Jane’s beloved classic! Absolutely loving the idea of a steampunk Darcy!

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    1. Nice to see you here, Warminsunqu’s Austen. I’m glad you asked about the cover. It was designed by a very talented print/book cover designer called JD Smith. She does wonderful covers.

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  4. I have been dying to read this book ever since I heard the concept for it a year ago. Thank you Monica for keeping things creative!

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  5. I am really not sure about Steampunk but I am up for reading another “Darcy” novel especially by Monica Fairview. I really enjoyed the Other Mr. Darcy and the Darcy Cousins and was looking forward to another so I will try this and see what happens.

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  6. Another twist on Pride and Prejudice – always welcome and now set in the Victorian era – one of my favourite authors – Anthony Trollope – wrote in this era , it might be interesting to compare the social aspects of the novels

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    1. Hello again, Vesper. I keep bumping into you. Interesting that you mention Trollope, since he deals a lot with the concept of what a gentleman is and issues of power and class. I’m not sure our novels have a lot in common, though. Steampunk Darcy is a romance and written tongue-in-cheek at times, but I’ll have to go back and re-read Trollope. I haven’t read him for a while but I remember liking his work.

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  7. I’ve been curious about steampunk for a while now, but I’ve had very little exposure to the genre. I think it would good fun to dive into steampunk with two of my favorite literary characters!

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  8. That’s so awesome! I absolutely love the premise for this book, and, of course, with Ms. Fairview’s excellent writing style it’s sure to be one of the best books this year. I can’t wait to read it! I’ve never thought about combining everything I love about P&P with the steampunk genre, but, while I can’t stand the vampires and werewolves and all manner of undead that keep cropping up (just my opinion), I think this type of combination will suit me perfectly.

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  9. Bostontown? The Charles River? Darcy? Well, all right then – as a native, and current, Bostonian, please count me in for I am curious, indeed.

    Looking forward to reading “Steampunk Darcy”. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

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  10. This sounds fantastic…fighting climate change…so relevant now, but I can only imagine the second-guessing he must face during that period. Monica, do you have a set number of words you write per day?

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    1. I don’t write a specific number of words every single day (I would like to, but it doesn’t happen that way). I spend a lot of time planning and thinking over the characters. Once I’m happy with what I have, I start writing. I usually write the rough draft over a relatively short time (averaging about 2,500-3,000 words a day), but then the hard part begins and essentially the novel gets rewritten several times in endless re-drafting until I get to a point when I feel I’m ready. The first draft gives me the structure I need, which remains intact, but the actually content of the chapters can be almost unrecognizable by the end of the process.

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    2. Oh, sagustocox — just wanted to add — yes, Darcy had a lot to contend with, although I’m not dealing with the apocalyptic moment in this moment. By the time the novel starts thinks have settled (mostly), so I’m not dealing with the apocalyptic moment in Steampunk Darcy, though it’s in the works!

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  11. Darcy is the ultimate hero and we can never get enough of him! I’ve read many variations of P&P books, but never anything like this. It sounds very intriguing!

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  12. I’ve never read anything Steampunk, and honestly really don’t know anything about the genre. However, a P&P variation is always welcome in my world. I’m picturing H.G. Wells in Boston, and am intrigued to see how the essentials of Darcy, Wickham, the Bennets, et.al. fit into this scientific Victorian construct. It sounds like another breath of fresh air will blow through Pride and Prejudice.

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    1. There is certainly an echo of H.G. Wells in the novel, but I think you’ll find there’s a lot more Jane Austen than Wells in Steampunk Darcy. Just be prepared for one or two reversals…

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  13. Shoot it posted before I could finish.
    I like to read stories that are not the norm. I think this one will be a good twist. I love the idea of him fighting for the greater good vs vampires or werewolves all the time. I like the retro-Victorian setting as well. So yes I think this book will be wonderful!

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  14. This is the first I’ve heard of this book and I’m intrigued. I love steampunk stories and the story line sounds fascinating. Monica, what gave you the idea to do a steampunk P&P with an environmental twist?

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    1. I think the environment is on everyone’s mind, and I read The Road when it first came out (didn’t see the film) and it really had an impact on me. It’s one of the most beautiful/terrible books I’ve read. But I digress. The environmental disaster is the background to the novel and in a way I wanted to have Seraphene and William Darcy be harbingers of a new world. They represent different ideas of what the future should look like, but they agree on one thing, the future has to be based on the past, not on ignoring the past and moving on. This is where the Steampunk aspect comes in. It’s a society that has been forced to go backwards to the Age of Steam on a functional level, but it’s also searching the past for models of behavior and social coherence.
      I don’t want Steampunk Darcy to sound too serious, though, because it isn’t. When I wrote it I wanted it to be light and airy, not dark at all, and I hope I’ve succeeded in that. : )

      Like

  15. What a wonderful story line! The themes of P&P and the memorable characters still entertain us in new storylines. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  16. Reading all the comments above and your responses to them, Monica, makes your book even more intriguing! I saw Wells, reversal, harbingers of a new world! Fascinating! Thanks for keeping the flame burning, Monica, and thanks for the giveaway!

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  17. I love steampunk. This sounds great. Would love to have this for my fairly new Kindle. It always fascinates me how some authors find new avenues like this one did!

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  18. Darcy is so universal just like Jane Austen’s plots that I’m always intrigued to see what form he will appear in next. I recently began enjoying Steampunk so I’m eager to see who P&P fits into this world. The story sounds fabulous.
    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

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  19. enable him to take retro-images of his ancestors, Darcy and Lizzy.

    Okay, you’ve caught my attention again! I won’t be able to put down this book…..

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    1. Thank you, Mary. (By the way, can’t resist it mentioning this, since I saw your surname, but one of our Austen Authors Readers’ Choice characters is Sir Montgomery Preston. He’s on twitter @DBMontgomeryPreson)

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  20. Hello this new book looks intriguing – not quite sure what Steampunk is – can you explain please Monica ?- Thank you – I feel intrigued and want to read Steampunk Darcy
    I really enjoyed the short story Nothing less than fairy land in JAMMDI ed by Laurel Ann as I like the way it dealt with Emma and Mr Knightley coping with living with the elderly Mr Woodhouse . It also gives the concrete plans Emma makes and carries out to make amends to Miss Bates and leaves an intriguing twist as I think about what could happen next in the tale.
    So I would love to jump in and read this new book.

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    1. Ann — how kind of you to mention my story. Thank you.

      There are as many types of Steampunk as there are people who write it, so it’s hard to define. The easiest way to characterize it is to say it’s a recreation of the Victorian period in fashion, decor, and spirit, with a lot of license! A postmodern Victoriana, if you like. There are common elements that make it recognizable: visually, you’ll see a lot of brass, cogwheels, gaslights and clocks, and hot air balloons. If you’ve seen the film Hugo, you’ll recognize a lot of those.
      In terms of fashion, you’ll find corsets, top hats, parasols, goggles and bustles. In terms of spirit it’s going back to the Age of Steam and capturing the sense of wonder as a host of new inventions came into being, so you’ll see steam-powered gadgetry like steam-powered cars and steam-powered bicycles. It was a great age of experimentation.
      Just to give you an idea: Did you know that Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (b. 1815) is considered to have written the first functional computer program? Her notes are credited with being the basis of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Machine, the first modern computer. She was called the Enchantress of Numbers. And, by the way, if you recognized her name you would know that she was the poet Byron’s daughter.
      I’ve digressed, but it’s easier to explain through example.The Victorian period was full of fascinating people imagining impossible things. We think of it as a very gloomy period and it absolutely was, but Steampunk looks at some of its positive aspects. It’s often defined as alternative history.
      Hope this helps…
      Personally, I find definitions of this type rarely work, which is why I avoid them whenever possible : )

      Like

  21. This sounds like just the thing I like. And with Monica Fairview writing the story, how can one go wrong? Looking fwd to adding to my collection.

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  22. I was going to ask the same question about Steampunk, but that was answered above. I find the genre intriguing, and look forward to reading the book, whether I win or not! Thanks for showing Darcy new territories.

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  23. Hi, Monica. I actually worked on one of your books at Sourcebooks (I’m a freelance copyeditor and proofreader for them): The Darcy Cousins. I loved it and I proudly bought it and recommended it as soon as it came out!

    I have worked on some steampunk as well, and love the genre in general, so I suppose I could come up with something (or a lot of somethings), but I’m curious about your process: Do you outline? If so, how extensively? I am always curious to know what most writer’s thoughts on this are, as some say to do it religiously and detailed and some feel like the story just pours out of them. What do you typically do?

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    1. Hello editorstet, What a nice thing to say! I’m happy to know you enjoyed editing The Darcy Cousins. Of course, since you worked on the editing, you deserve some of the credit for the final product! Thank you for all your hard work.

      Personally, I always prepare extensively for the novel before I start writing. I work on an outline, I get to know the characters, and I usually write the first and last chapters. The writing itself takes a relatively short time — I think while I outline the individual chapters I’m sort of writing it in my head already. Once I’m ready, the book writes itself — and the characters sometimes go off in a different direction, then I need to re-plot to get back on track. It’s the rewriting that takes the longest time. I shift chapters around, rewrite some chapters completely, and work on different layers.

      For Steampunk Darcy, for example, I had an extra around 20,000 words of world-building description that I was attached to. But I didn’t want the world-building to interrupt the flow of the story, so I cut it. I also cut out two chapters and a prologue at the beginning, and then revised and revised until I was satisfied. The revisions were quite extensive.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you decide to write something.

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  24. I read the book and loved it! You have to write another novel about the uprising and the life of the heroine before she meets Darcey. A sequel would also be great. I have never read this genre before and I really enjoyed.

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  25. I love Jane Austen and sci fi so your book intrigues me. I attended a session about “steampunk” at ValleyCon, a regional sci fi/fantasy convention in Fargo, North Dakota this weekend. You’re right, it is hard to define steampunk but you captured the basic elements in your response to Ann. I look forward to reading Steampunk Darcy.

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  26. This sounds fascinating! I don’t know if anyone asked but was it hard to write William as William and not give him any Fitzwilliam qualities or is he too similar to his ancestor?

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    1. Thank you, Nicole! William has qualities that are similar to Fitzwilliam. Like Fitzwilliam, he’s very proud. The Darcy family name is important to him, and he’s aware of his status in society. For him being a gentleman is crucial, and he interprets this much as Fitzwilliam Darcy did before him. He deliberately models himself after Fitzwilliam. Whether he succeeds or not is up to the reader to decide.

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  27. Monica Fairview is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Other Mr. Darcy. I’ve given it away as a present to friends on more than one occasion. I can’t wait to see what she has next. As an environmental engineer, I am intrigued by the environmental elements of it. I also like that it takes place in the Victorian era. And of course, it has Mr. Darcy in it – which is always fascinating!

    Like

  28. I have never tried reading steampunk fiction before but I’ll make an exception because there is Darcy in it. Such is the power of Pride and Prejudice that I’m willing to take it up. I confess there are other genres that I have never tried before but if it’s somehow related to Jane Austen or her novels, I’ll give it a try and I like it.

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    1. Luthien84 — I agree wholeheartedly. .Pride and Prejudice has a magical appeal — in whatever form or shape. I must admit I never would have read any zombie novels (never interested me) if it wasn’t for P&P mashups and spin-offs.

      Like

  29. Steampunk fiction sounds extraordinary and intriguing since it is a combination of elements that are fascinating. Thanks for this great post and enjoyable feature.

    Liked by 1 person

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