Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Debut Print Book: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

I’ve had some concerns by readers who are primarily print readers that the coverage at Dear Author has been too focused on ebooks. When I asked the readers what they were interested in seeing, they responded that they would like to know more about print debut authors. We developed a little questionnaire and every Wednesday at 10:00 AM CST (as long as we have content) we’ll post the questionnaire answers along with links to the author’s site and a buy link to her book. I hope this helps people discovery new books. Now, on to the answers.

Name of debut release: Kiss of Steel

Release date: 09/01/2012

Publisher: Sourcebooks

2 sentence summary: To escape the reach of the Duke of Vickers, Honoria Todd flees to Whitechapel, which puts her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of – if she’s willing to pay the price for his protection.

Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk Romance

Characters: Honoria Todd: spinster and bluestocking, with a head for science and a dangerous secret the Duke of Vickers would kill to get his hands on.

Blade, the Devil of Whitechapel: a rogue blue blood with a dangerous reputation, a delicious cockney accent and a bone to pick with the Duke of Vickers, he could be the man of Honoria’s dreams…or the one who could destroy her.

What makes this story different: In my steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, the city is ruled by the aristcratic Echelon. With their puppet Queen and blood taxes, the Echelon crush any and all who oppose them and have created an automaton army to protect them from the populace after France guillotined their blue blood aristocracy.

Featuring a different take on a paranormal trope (I can’t say any more than that right now), a diamond-in-the-rough hero with not an aristocratic bone in his body and an intrepid heroine, Kiss of Steel should appeal to anyone who likes a seemingly-impossible romance and a lot of adventure.

Is this a series?: London Steampunk series

Why you wrote this book: I was daydreaming one day (AKA working) and this scene popped into my head featuring a desperate woman on the run in Whitechapel and a dangerous man who might be her only hope. All I knew was that she was so desperate for money and protection, that she was forced to make a deal with the devil: her virginity or her blood.

I’ve never been so excited about a story before. It started to unfold like it had a life of its own and Blade was practically whispering in my ear with that delicious accent the entire time (try writing an accent for an entire book, I dare you).

Why is this your first published book? How many did you write before? Kiss of Steel finalled in many contests and was picked up by Leah Hultenschmidt of Sourcebooks after she judged it first in the 2011 RWA Sheila. Its the third completed manuscript I’ve written (believe me, there are literally hundreds of partials under the bed), and practically wrote itself.

My previous forays had been in historical romance, and one of them gained me an agent but got no further than that. It became very clear to me that whilst I liked the historical genre, paranormal and fantasy have always been my first true love. So I combined the two genres, added a strong dash of science-fiction and discovered writing steampunk is the most fun you can have alone.

What’s your writing process? I work part-time now, so I have mon-wed to write all day. I sneak in an hour or so on thursday and friday, usually before work, and if my boyfriend is working away I spend every other waking moment on the computer. Including Saturday nights.

Most days I work to a word goal limit. I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but unfortunately that has to change, what with the need for approved-synopses before I go ahead now.

Your next published book. Book Two in the London Steampunk series, featuring Honoria’s sister and Blade’s second-in-charge.

The last book you read that you loved. There are two that I have read this year that have stuck with me. Firelight by Kristen Callihan (another debut author) blew me away it was so perfect and deliciously sensual. And Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (YA) has some of the most beautiful prose and interesting world building.

The last book you read for research. Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing. I’m addicted to travel and I’m interested in putting a few pieces about my recent trip to Vietnam up on my blog, so I was boning up.

The romance book character you most identify with. I want to be Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews) or Yasmeen (Meljean Brook) but I think I’m a little more like Sara Fielding from Lisa Kleypas’ Dreaming of You – and yes, Derek Craven was a bit of an inspiration for Blade. I’m the bookish heroine or maybe the sporty girl at school that was never in the popular club but spent more time in the library.

You can check out more about Bec McMaster and her books at


Alison Atlee (also known as "Alyson" here at Dear Author) is fascinated by creative people and how they work, which is why she enjoys contributing author interviews to Dear Author. She likes her romance novels light on the internal monologues, twisty with the conventions, and brimming with voice. Her favorite book at age ten? "An Old-Fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott.


  1. SAO
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 02:49:10

    Sounds like an interesting book, however, the post on the feed was boring as hell. We’ve all read it 1000 times before. Why not change your first para to make us interested in the book you’re reviewing?

  2. Alyson H.
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 06:23:20

    @SAO: I’m not sure why this posted under my name, but I don’t do this debut print series. My guess is that having a standard opening streamlines the work of a weekly feature like this one or First Page (the other writers here at DA post much more frequently than I do), as well as providing new readers with some background info.

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