Thursday, April 9, 2020

Beast Heart by Kyle Richardson - Book Tour + Giveaway

BEAST HEART by Kyle Richardson
GENRE: YA / Paranormal / Steampunk

When the girl with the clockwork hand meets the boy with the beast heart, sparks fly in this poignant, adventure-filled debut.

Book 1 of the Steambound Trilogy. When Gabby’s hand turns to steam, her mom hires an engineer to build her a clockwork glove. It’s the last thing Gabby wants—if only she could be normal. But when her mom is attacked by something monstrous, normal is no longer an option. Now the only person she can turn to is a grizzled detective, who promises to help her become something … more.
Meanwhile, Kemple’s foster dad treats him like a slave. And the beatings are getting worse. So when a rebellious girl named Josephyn arrives—with a plan to escape to the city—he doesn’t hesitate. But there are creatures in Iron Bay whose slashes are worse than skin-deep. And as Kemple evolves into something inhuman, his search for a cure begins.
They are strangers in a city where carriages rattle, airships rumble, and where their own dark pasts continue to haunt them. Soon their paths will collide, and the girl who slays monsters will come face to face with the boy who is becoming a beast.

Guest post:
What is the hardest thing about writing steampunk?

For me, the toughest part of writing Steampunk is making it accessible (and appealing) to readers who haven’t read much Steampunk before. At the same time, you don’t want to water it down too much, otherwise true Steampunk fans will feel disappointed. It’s a very specific genre, with a lot of expectations and conventions—though I feel that, like any genre, there’s always room for some creative rule-bending.

There are two main characteristics that a lot of Steampunk stories share: steam-powered technology, and a Victorian-esque setting. (There are also some common themes: like class struggles; the rise of technology in the face of social decline; the idea of a world-changing, clockwork supercomputer; etc...—but exploring these  motifs, I feel, isn’t really required. More like suggested.)

As for writing Steampunk itself, I’d say the next biggest challenge is to keep things plausible. It’s so tempting, as a writer, to simply slap some gears, levers, exhaust pipes, and a boiler onto any sort of device and declare, “There! Now it’s a steampunk contraption, and it works in a steampunk-ish way!”

But readers aren’t gullible. If the story contains a vehicle, or a device, that doesn’t carry the weight of realism, a reader is sure as heck going to notice. So the writer has to make it seem like such a device does exist in the story-world (even if it probably never could). Often, that means taking time away from writing to spend some actual research. (My computer, for example, is full of internet bookmarks explaining the mechanics of 19th-century devices.)

The final challenge of writing Steampunk is the characters. In such an outlandish world, full of rumbling airships and mechanized beings, the characters need to feel real to the reader—as real as any person they’ve ever come across, fictional or otherwise. Otherwise, the whole story might spiral past the point of believable (and if you reach that point, as a writer, you’ve probably lost the reader). So the character’s emotions have to feel real and grounded. Their decisions need to feel justified. And their actions must not only move the story forward in believable ways, but also carry realistic consequences.

For those reasons, I’d say that writing Steampunk is a balancing act. It’s gritty and mechanical, full of churning gears and gushing steam, but it’s also innately human, filled with characters struggling for all the same things that everyone, in any world, deserves: health, love, happiness … and an escape off this flame-engulfed airship, before it violently plummets into the sea.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Kyle Richardson lives in the suburban wilds of Canada with his adorable wife, their rambunctious son, and their adventurous daughter. He writes about shapeshifters, superheroes, and the occasional clockwork beast, moonlights as an editor at Meerkat Press, and has a terrible habit of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments. His short fiction has appeared in places such as Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology and Daily Science Fiction.

AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Twitter

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