Pop! Tiny drops spattered, and that smell drifted out, intoxicating like opium, delicious like bitter chocolate, velvety and delectable and oh, so alluring …
Today’s Guest is Viola Carr, author of the Electric Empire series.
Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance. She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist.
Here’s a little about her latest book Viola’s cool post discussing why we want to read a steampunk mash up of Jekyll and Hyde, a giveaway, and an excerpt! follow:
The Diabolical Miss Hyde
An Electric Empire novel
by Viola Carr
464 pages E-Book and Trade Paperback
Release Date: 10 February 2015
Witch hunts are commonplace, alchemists are surreptitiously searching for the key to life immortal, fey folk are lurking in the dingy pubs of the St. Giles Rookeries, and all the while, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is laboring under a great many misfortunes:
• Firstly, she is a woman, and a police doctor—and so she must deal with ridiculous chauvinistic prejudices of her peers, who somehow think that her feminine hysterics will affect her scientific findings. But deal with them she does, and right smartly.
• Secondly, a mad murderer known as “The Chopper” is haunting the streets London, leaving a trail of grisly corpses in his wake—and it’s up to her to find justice for the dead and safety for the living.
• Thirdly, she must constantly look over her shoulder for a member of the Royal Society, bent on eradicating unsanctioned alchemical experiments of a suspicious or supernatural nature…and now she need look no further than the dashing, infuriating, obnoxious Captain Remy Lafayette, who’s been sent by the Royal Society to investigate killings with her.
• Most distressing, however, is the fact that Eliza Jekyll is not alone in her head. Like her father, she has a hidden second self that emerges when she drinks his forbidden magical elixir. Just a few sips, and a seductive and impulsive Lizzie Hyde is unleashed.
The careful doctor knows that one wrong step can make her prey to the clever Lafayette, a man who harbors an evil curse of his own. No matter how much she craves the elixir, she must resist.
But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need the potion’s power to help her . . . even if it might attract the attentions of Lafayette. Even if it means setting the wild Lizzie free. . . .
I am thrilled and honored to welcome Viola to Fangs, Wands & Fairy Dust!
Thanks for having me 🙂 I’m stoked to be here!
Retellings have been really popular recently, especially those with a fantasy or horror twist. Whether it’s Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, re-imagined fairy tales like Cinder or Sisters Red, or TV shows like Sleepy Hollow and Penny Dreadful that mash classic literary characters and genres together to create something new.
So maybe that’s why, when I decided that the world needed an edgy, gender-bending, darkly romantic, horror-laced steampunk retelling of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde mashed with a murder mystery, no one told me I was weird or insane.
Admittedly, that was before they read the book. But still. No one stopped me, folks. You’ve only got yourselves to blame.
But in case you doubters doubt me still – seriously, was anyone not won over by ‘steampunk Jekyll & Hyde?’ – here are
Six Reasons Why The World Needed The Diabolical Miss Hyde.
- Literary mash-ups, we haz ‘em
If you want homages, have I got a deal for you. Jekyll & Hyde, yes, but you’ll also find the weird science of Frankenstein, the madcap CSI techniques of Sherlock Holmes and a splash of Sweeney Todd’s blood. You’ll also find nods to Dickens and eerie gothics like The Woman In White. We have corrupt coppers, unscrupulous penny-dreadful publishers, eerie stage magicians, eccentric mad-doctors and a truly diabolical lunatic asylum.
- A witty steampunk CSI heroine… with a sultry dark half
Dr Eliza Jekyll, daughter of the infamous Henry. She works for the police as a crime scene physician, deploying her wacky gadgets to solve gruesome murders. But drink that famous magical elixir, and street-wise adventuress Lizzie Hyde pops out, ready to part-ay. Eliza’s torn between righteous disgust and secret delight in Lizzie’s wickedness. But her memory of these nocturnal sojourns to the seedy side of town wearing Lizzie’s scandalous red outfits is patchy: who knows what Lizzie really gets up to in the dark?
- Alchemy and electricity and fairy dust, oh my!
Eliza and Lizzie’s left-of-centre London is a grimy, electric-powered, ‘mad science’ kind of city, teeming with flying bicycles, exploding telegraphs, aether-powered weapons and eerie voltaic laboratories conducting strange experiments. There’s also a luminous Dickensian underworld, inhabited by criminals, fey and weird folk. Magic is illegal; if you’re caught using it, you’ll be burned. So to get her elixir, Eliza engages in the 19th century equivalent of a seedy drug deal – her enabler is an utterly insane alchemist who poses as a respectable pharmacist while muttering about aqua vitae and the search for eternal life. What could possibly go wrong?
- Romance, of course
We had to get there. What could annoy an independent, scientifically-minded lady more than an irrational attraction to an enemy? Meet dashing Captain Remy Lafayette, a government agent who’s sent to spy on Eliza’s murder investigation (read: burn her at the stake for unorthodox scientific practices). Who doesn’t love a handsome, witty, ridiculously charming hero in uniform? Eliza, that’s who. To her discerning eye, cunning Captain Lafayette is just an insufferably cocky threat, and she’s determined to be rid of him… but sultry Lizzie Hyde has naughtier, more dangerous ideas.
- Bethlem Asylum
A.k.a. Bedlam – a lurid steampunk-y version of London’s infamous insane asylum. Home to the notorious lunatic artist Mr. Todd, who merrily slit the throats of seventeen people he didn’t like before Eliza got him locked up. Charismatic Mr. Todd knows more than he’s letting on about Eliza’s current case… but she still has breathless, guilty nightmares about what happened that candlelit midnight in his studio when first they came face to face. Whatever he wants in return for his information, it’s not worth it… is it?
- Clockwork pets
Eliza has a clockwork dog named Hippocrates (after the Greek physician, naturally). Hipp has an electric memory, where he files crime scene samples. details of old cases, and pithy catchphrases, and he likes to ‘help’ with her investigations. He’s a clever fellow, and fiercely loyal, but like little dogs everywhere, he’s a tad over-enthusiastic. I totally want one.
See, I knew you’d be convinced: the world truly, madly, desperately needed this book! I hope you enjoy it!
Thanks for the interesting guest post. Makes me want to take a second look for sure!
The very nice people at Harper Collins sent me an extra copy of THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE to award to one lucky reader! This is open to US Shipping Only (“In Care Of” addresses are fine) and like all giveaways here you must be at least 18 to enter!
To Enter please Comment and use the Rafflecopter form
You can comment as you desire as long as it is MEANINGFUL, polite and relevant. While I appreciate a reader thanking me for the giveaway “Thanks for the giveaway” does not constitute a meaningful comment.
Need some ideas for a comment? Here you go:
1. Which sentence in the guest post (above) or excerpt (below) is your fave and why?
2. Where would YOU hide a secret potion?
3. What do you like (or dislike if you must – but politely) about steampunk?
Throughout The Diabolical Miss Hyde, Eliza Jekyll’s troubled by her dark half, Lizzie Hyde, who’s forever wanting to break out and do her own thing. Eliza stubbornly resists, and avoids drinking her addictive magical elixir for weeks on end… but eventually, she must succumb to temptation. Is she two people at once, or one and then the other? She, we or I? Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like for Eliza to change…
As soon as the door clicked shut, Eliza sprang to her feet. Turned the key in the lock, click-clack! and tossed it onto the bed, out of reach of prying fingers. Ran to the fireplace, grabbed the left-hand sconce, and yanked it downwards on its secret hinge.
Crunch! Hot wax spilled over the back of her hand. She didn’t care. Thirst tore into her belly. The sharp-clawed beast had to be sated. Come on, come on …
Agonizingly slowly, the section of wall beside the wardrobe swung outwards. Silently, without a whisper or a creak. She kept it oiled for that purpose. A dark passageway loomed. Her secret cabinet.
Before the door had even fully opened, she dived in. On her knees, shaking, fumbling the little cupboard door aside. Yearning, sweating, trembling with anticipation yet gripped by terrible fear that she’d miscalculated, there’d be nothing inside …
There it sat. Mr. Finch’s black glass flask, gleaming evilly in firelight. Bulbous at the bottom, narrow neck, flaring at the mouth. It seemed to snigger like a living creature, hungry for mischief.
Yes. Her mouth watered, and her eyes drifted closed. She gripped the flask’s warm neck—always warm, this bubbling hellbrew, a vile heat of its own—and flicked off the cork. Pop! Tiny drops spattered, and that smell drifted out, intoxicating like opium, delicious like bitter chocolate, velvety and delectable and oh, so alluring …
A desperate feather of reason tickled the back of her neck. Startled, she opened her eyes.
The long mirror on the cabinet wall reflected her, stark and pale in her white chemise. Her reddened eyes were demented. She breathed deep, shuddering, sweating, the fever sprinting madly under her skin, a dread curse she couldn’t escape.
She shouldn’t. She mustn’t.
But she had to.
She squeezed her eyes shut against the fire’s glare and tipped the flask to her lips.
Molten gold, rolling down her throat. Thick salt stung her tongue, coated the inside of her mouth, sickening yet delicious. Thirst ripped her raw, and she gulped, mouthful on mouthful …
Fire erupted in her guts, sweeter than any caress. She groaned in pure abandon. Spreading outwards through her belly, tingling along her limbs, a shivering shock wave of delight …
Agony, hacking every nerve ragged. Muscles contorting, bones twisting, red mist descending like poison, it’s torture, it’s being dragged apart on the rack in some rat-infested Tower chamber, beyond endurance, no one can take this, no one. A scream crawls up her throat, she’s yelling, I’m yelling, she’s clawing at her face but it’s my face, my hands, my nails catching in her hair. We throw our head back, arching our spine, joints grating, our muscles shudder and squeal and thrash one final time …
Suddenly, the pain falls silent. The red mist dissolves … and in the mirror, dark eyes flash, wicked and alive with intent.
Sharp intelligent face, crooked seducer’s smile, a body with lush, dangerous curves. Long curly hair tumbles over the white chemise, no longer fine and blond but dark, lustrous mahogany.
And here I stand.