Oh the “Byrony”: The making of Lily Stargazer – guest post by Melanie Karsak
It’s with great pleasure that I welcome Melanie Karsak, author of the Airship Racing Chronicles. For me, one of the great things about social media is connecting with other authors and it’s been a pleasure making Melanie’s acquaintance!
She’s generously offered an international giveaway to all commenters on this blog for an autographed copy of Chasing the Star Garden plus book swag.
Remember, EVERY comment made on one of my guests’ blogs in December will be entered for a $50 Amazon gift certificate!
First, my thanks to Emma Jane Holloway for inviting me to drop by her blog and talk steampunk. It is a pleasure to be in such delightful company. I am very excited to for the release of Emma Jane’s third book. Congratulations, Emma Jane. Now, let’s talk Byron.
Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. That is how Lady Caroline Lamb described the historical George Gordon, Lord Byron. When I decided to write a steampunk series, I knew that I wanted Lord Byron to be a central figure in my work. Byron was a rock star of his age. And honestly, if I can be all fan girl for a minute, he is pretty darned cute. When I set about creating my steampunk world, I didn’t want Queen Victoria or Tesla to be the sun in my solar system, I wanted Byron.
Given I can barely understand the man I’ve married, I knew I could not write from a man’s consciousness. Byron could not be my protagonist. Instead, I decided I would write from the perspective of one of Byron’s lovers. Lord Byron was infamous for his sexual appetites. In fact, he went into self-imposed exile to flee possible persecution and damage to his reputation for his bisexuality. I imagined that being in love with Byron would be a lot like being in love with any man you can’t quite tie down . . . thrilling and unfulfilling all at once. What kind of woman would be with Byron?
In walked the concept for Lily Stargazer. I wanted Lily to be a less than perfect character. I wanted her to have anti-hero qualities: questionable morality, cynicism, a self-destructive
energy, a rebellious nature, and questionable sexual appetites. In other words, I wanted her to be a Byronic heroine! The term Byronic hero, as we know, is inspired by the attitude cultivated from the historical Lord Byron himself. Oh, the “Byrony.”
Link to Wiki on Byronic Heroes:
The irony for me was that I didn’t even really think about the fact that she was Byronic. I just wanted to write a character that was true to the dark, crappy sides of life. There is a tremendous body of literature on the indenturing of children during the Industrial Revolution in England. Children suffered in horrible working conditions that are akin to slavery. I wanted to write about a woman who suffered at the hands of others and did not bounce back.
Link to Youtube series on the Children who built Victorian England (bring tissues): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87eVOpbcoVo
Despite her terrible past, as revealed in the novel through flashbacks, I envisioned Lily Stargazer as a woman who accidently found herself in a profession that was typically male dominated: as an airship pilot. And I wanted Lily to be good at what she did, really good. In fact, I wanted to punk the norms of 1823 (and today, really) and make Lily the best at a male-dominated sport. Take that, male sports. Lily Stargazer, an airship racer with a famous lover and an opium addiction, was born.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/melanie-karsak