Zoe Archer Interview & Giveaway: SKIES OF FIRE
Zoe Archer is with me today talking about her new release, SKIES OF FIRE, steampunk and her unique husband–a fellow romance author!!
And we’ve got a great slew of giveaways today, so makes sure to check out prizes and ways to enter below!
Captain Christopher Redmond has just one weakness: the alluring spy who loved and left him years before … when he was still just a man. Now he’s superhuman—a Man O’ War, made as part of the British Navy’s weapons program—and his responsibility is to protect the skies of Europe. If only he could forget Louisa Shaw.
Louisa, a British Naval Intelligence agent, has never left a job undone. But when her assignment is compromised, the one man who can help her complete her mission is also the only man ever to tempt her body and heart. As burning skies loom and passion ignites, Louisa and Christopher must slip behind enemy lines if they are to deliver a devastating strike against their foe … and still get out alive.
I’m so intrigued by SKIES OF FIRE!! It will be my very first steampunk novel! It’s now on my Kindle and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I love your writing style and voice and the subtle humor you add to your characters and narrative. Can’t wait to steal away with my new treat!!
The romance in SKIES OF FIRE is a reunion story. I am SUCH a sucker for reunion stories! Absolutely love them. How do you feel about reunion stories – as both a reader and writer?
I do love reading them, because who doesn’t want or need a second chance? As for writing them, I think that SKIES OF FIRE might be my first. Since it’s a shorter book, I felt like having the characters with a history would work well in the limited word count. Get the action started, so to speak.
*Gasp* You gave away our reunion word count secret!
Can you tell us a little about Christopher’s and Louisa’s history – why their romance didn’t work before and what challenges they will face when they try again now – without giving away any goodies? (Or, okay, maybe not a lot of goodies :))
Both of them are employed by the British Navy—at the time of their first meeting, he was the captain of a seafaring naval ship, and she worked in Intelligence. Several years before the opening of the story, Christopher and Louisa had a very passionate and intense relationship. I think it surprised them both how emotionally involved they became in each other. While Christopher was soon ready to make a greater commitment, Louisa…wasn’t. That is to say, the idea of making their relationship more permanent scared her, and, sad to say, she bolted. Without a word. As you can imagine, Christopher is rather bitter about that. So when he and Louisa are thrown together behind enemy lines, and have to collaborate to carry out a vital top-secret mission, it’s a volatile situation.
Oh, and when Louisa last saw Christopher, he was a normal man. Since then, he’s become a Man O’War—a hybrid between man and machine. That means some radical physical alterations. But what hasn’t changed is how Christopher feels about Louisa. He’s angry, hurt, but still has feelings for her, much to his annoyance. Louisa thought she’d done the right thing by leaving him, yet seeing him again makes her question her decision.
Enemy airships or an old flame—which is more dangerous?
Wow. I guess it’s awesome when your reader is already 110% invested before they even start reading, right? (That would be me :))
SKIES OF FIRE’s plot revolves around the British Navy and Naval Intelligence. How in God’s name did you do the research for such a novel?
Given that I’m dealing with an alternate Victorian timeline, I researched the British Navy of the last quarter of the 19th century. And then, because it’s steampunk, the “research” consisted of world building, so that I knew the ins and outs of this alternate universe. Never cut corners when it comes to world building! But also know when to pull back on giving too much detail. My main interest is the characters—the world building and research has to support them, not the other way around.
At the Passion and Prose conference we both attended in Long Beach, Gail Carriger described Steampunk as Goth in color. Her speech was the first time I had ever truly been introduced to the contents of Steampunk, and I realized it is actually a genre I could and would thoroughly enjoy—something I would have never guessed by the title.
Can you give us your view of Steampunk for those of us just being introduced to the genre? Who might love or gravitate toward Steampunk?
Heh. I’d also heard, “Steampunk is when Goths discover the color brown.” The very basic definition of steampunk is Victorian science fiction, or how the Victorians would interpret and incorporate modern technology. We can take technology from our modern era—or even beyond it—and then imagine it through a Victorian lens.
What I love about steampunk is that it can be for everyone—historical readers, paranormal readers, people of any age group. You’ve got the trappings of history, but with a scientific and sometimes paranormal twist. Plus, having seen and attended some steampunk conventions and gatherings, it welcomes enthusiasts from all walks of life. Sometimes cosplay can skew young, but with steampunk, which has that historical element, people who might be drawn to historical reenactments or leery of wearing skintight spandex can also enjoy dressing up. Corsets look good on everyone!
You’ve had fabulous success writing in multiple romance subgenres including Historical Paranormal with The Hellraisers, Historical Adventures with The Blades of the Rose, Steampunk and Sci-Fi. And you’ve got several books releasing close together with others coming out right behind those. How do you manage your time to fit in all the demands of promotion, writing and spending time with that amazing husband?
Caffeine. 🙂 Honestly, it’s not easy, and there is a lot of juggling of time. There isn’t a lot of downtime, either, so when I go on vacation this May, I’m really going to need it! But when I get back, I have to immediately return to work. Yet I can’t complain too much. Deadlines mean someone wants my work! Still, Nico and I are extremely busy. And, yes, he is amazing.
Okay, I’ve GOT to ask about your husband – also a fellow romance author, Nico Rosso. I could surely form an entire interview around this subject alone, but I find it fascinating that you two both write romance and you share a home office. Can you tell us a little about the rewards and challenges of your unique situation with Nico?
The rewards are manifold. We’re not competitive about each other’s careers, which is probably the most unique situation. Nico and I work very closely together when formulating plot for my novels, then he’s my critique partner (and fight choreographer, and technical adviser, and…everything else). When he first started critiquing my stuff, he hadn’t read any romance, and I think that actually helped my process because he was thinking of my work holistically, not simply as genre fiction. Nico also builds and maintains my website and designs any promo artwork. His fingerprints are all over my stuff. (Insert double-entendre here.)
Since we’re both writers, we don’t have to explain the sometimes bizarre aspects of the process, we don’t bother each other when the other is writing, and we share the common language of writers, so we know exactly what we’re talking about when discussing character, plot, arc, theme, etc. Now that Nico writes romance, he’s even more versed in what my books need, and I can help him shape his narratives. He doesn’t dismiss or deride romance. He embraces its positive message and insistence on a HEA. It’s almost all upside, really.
Okay, there is a downside. When we’re both under deadline, it can get tense. Not between each other, just a general, “Holy bleep, I have to get this done!” feeling. Also we can both sit at a meal and stare off into space as our brains churn with story ideas. I’m sure people in restaurants think we’re slightly crazy. Actually, they wouldn’t be far from the truth…
Giveaway! 5 books up for grabs!
~ 3 ecopies of SKIES OF FIRE
~ 1 print copy of STRANGER
~ 1 print copy of SCOUNDREL
~ 1 print copy of REBEL
Enter via rafflecopter — and let us know what aspect of SKIED OS FIRE most appeals to you. Is it the reunion story, the steampunk aspect, the Naval intelligenct plot, or something else…?
ZoË Archer is a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of adventure, sexy men, and women who make no apologies about kicking ass. Her books include the Hellraisers paranormal historical series and the acclaimed Blades of the Rose paranormal historical adventure series. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ’80s. ZoË and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, live in Los Angeles.