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.
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First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Of course! I write paranormal/steampunk romance books, that feature an alternate London, which is ruled by the vicious Echelon elite (kind of like a blood-thirsty ton), with dangerous heroes and kick-bustle heroines. Forged by Desire is the fourth book in my London Steampunk series, and I have just finished book five. I live in a small country town in Australia, with my very own beta hero, and a dog who snores like a train.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Always. When I was a kid, we used to get fish-and-chips and I would claim the enormous butcher paper it was wrapped in and spend hours drawing maps of fantasy worlds on it, and coming up with ideas for each country's culture, and who was enemy with who... I had notebooks full of character casts, and ideas for stories. However, it wasn't until I turned fourteen and my mom bought a computer, that my writing really took off. I've always had trouble keeping up with my mind with a pen, but a computer became the means to write a story at the same pace. I wrote epic fantasies with dragons and group of young teens who found a dragon egg (heh, my first ever foray into the YA genre, years before it was cool), or my own versions of the Saddle Club. It was a great childhood. The problem occurred when I finished high scool and everyone started telling me that I needed to 'get a real job'. So I did, and in my spare time I kept writing all these wonderful worlds and people, just for myself. And eventually I decided that I really wanted to be an author - I didn't want to do my 'real job' anymore.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
I'm a little bit of both. So many ideas lurk around in here *taps head* that sometimes I have to write it all down, click save and then move on - so that A) I don't forget the idea, and B) I don't go off chasing the shiny new idea, instead of writing the contracted book. I often play with those ideas when I have a moment, working everything out, like Goal, Motivation, Conflict... But at other times, I have a scene or a world leap out at me and when I start writing, I just keep unearthing who my characters are, a little at a time, almost like an archeologist. London Steampunk is a little like that. In Forged By Desire, a lot had occurred between Garrett and Perry in the previous book - like the infamous red dress scene, when they both went undercover at the opera and Garrett realized, "Whoa, when did you get pretty?" These two were never supposed to be the next step, but after My Lady Quicksilver, I had to know who they both were and why Perry was hiding her identity in the ranks of the Nighthawks (supernatural police force) - and in breeches.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everything. I often think writers are like magpies - ooh, look, shiny!!! Pick it up and go hide it away! Everything I read or watch or see, can spark an idea for a world or a book. I also strongly believe that the sub-conscious has a lot going on in there. It chews over those shiny little nuggets we pick up, and then suddenly inspiration will hit and a whole world or idea will come out of nowhere - seemingly.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Boy is friends with girl. Girl has been in love with boy forever. Boy sees girl in red dress, and realizes girl is really pretty. Mayhem ensues.
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I would read anything, but I prefer my reads - particularly paranormal and UF - a little darker. I'm not so much into lighthearted comedies. So something dark, creepy, cool, dangerous and tense. World-building fascinates me too, so I want to really throw myself into a world that's really developed and different.
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
It frequently changes, depending on what type of mood I'm in and what I've read lately. Although, my latest obsession is the Captive Prince series from S.U Pacat - it's m/m fantasy romance the likes of which I've never seen before. By that, I mean that there's not even a kiss between the male leads until 80% through book two, yet the sexual tension is off the charts. The plot is fascinating and almost like watching two adversaries play chess, and the emotional development of Damen and Laurent is really complex. I'm a huge Dorothy Dunnett - and Lymond - fan, and Pacat's Laurent reminded me so much of Lymond that I knew I'd found a keeper the moment I started reading.
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
I slow down to really focus on the words and dialogue when it comes to those emotionally charged scenes - the ones where the black moment for our hero/heroine occur, or especially those ones where they're giving into each other - and love, for the first time - and have been fighting it for so long.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Dorothy Dunnett - just to pick her brains on how to write such complex, fascinating characters; Meljean Brook, so I could fangirl so hard; and Ilona Andrews because they are hilarious online and in their books (I'm cheating - they're a husband-and-wife writing couple).
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I've just finished up the edits on Of Silk And Steam, book five in the London Steampunk world, so I've been dabbling with a few other projects. One's a NA style contemporary romance, another's a UF idea that's been bugging me for years, and the other one is a really steamy paranormal set in contemporary New Orleans. It would be nice to just be able to write in one set genre, but unfortunatly my mind doesn't work like that. It gets these ideas, and it just wants to go play with them, irregardless of genre. I roll with it - you've got to write what the heart wants to write.
If you were having dinner with three authors - who would you pick, and why?
Captain Garrett Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.
Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped...
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