When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.
Putting the Punk in Pygmalion
One of romance’s core themes is the concept of soul mates. Whether the soul mate element is implicitly or explicitly stated, it’s at the root of every story. The concept of finding a perfect match is a great fantasy. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds (e.g., time itself, distance, population density), romance promises that two people who are meant to be together will find each other.
The challenge of searching for one’s soul mate is a daunting one. What if, despite the number of people in the world, your soul mate wasn’t among them? In fact, what if your soul mate wouldn’t exist unless you created him or her?
Now let’s add the ultimate complication: what if your soul mate wasn’t even…alive?
That’s the basic premise of stories that are based on the Pygmalion myth. Remember Pygmalion from your high school history classes? He was the sculptor who fell in love with a beautiful female sculpture he had carved.
There have been many reinventions of the Pygmalion story over the years. One of the most well known is George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion (1912), which was later remade into the musical My Fair Lady and later a film of the same name in 1964. In this romantic comedy, a professor teaches a Cockney flower girl to pass as a duchess.
Sometimes Pygmalion-based stories have happy endings. Other times, they don’t. Regardless of how they end, these love stories explore a number of interesting themes, among them:
* the nature of being human
* the power of imagination in love
* cultural standards of beauty
* erotic fantasies
* the dangers of one-sided, exploitative relationships
* social commentary about women’s independence
* the transforming power of love
Romance has its share of Pygmalion-themed stories such as Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, Meredith Duran’s A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, Jill Myles’ Shimmerlight, and Susan Squires’ sci-fi romance, Body Electric. Body Electric is about a computer whiz who falls in love with an artificial intelligence personality she created. The story explores the ethics and ramifications of such a relationship.
When it came time for me to spin my own twist on the Pygmalion myth, I had a rich history of tales from which to draw. However, given my interest in science fiction romance, my goal was to supercharge the Pygmalion aspect in the most entertaining way possible.
In short, I punk’d it up.
Clockpunk is a science fiction/fantasy subgenre whose stories are driven by clockwork-based technology. Clockwork devices that are ahead of their time or that have fantastical elements have long fascinated me. Therefore, when I saw an opportunity to incorporate clockwork, romance, and the Pygmalion myth, I seized it.
The result? The Watchmaker’s Lady (Clockpunk Trilogy #1). This story is about a watchmaker in 1840,
New England, who falls in love with a clockwork automaton of his own creation. The heroine is more than a passive object of his affection, however. She’s as much of a companion to him as a living, breathing human. They share meals, engage in lively political debates, and, of course, have sex.
I can’t think of a more forbidden romance in the 1800s than that!
On the surface, this erotic clockpunk romance story is about a man in love with a Victorian sex doll. But if you dig a little deeper beneath the kink, you’ll discover a heartwarming romance between two soul mates who manage to find each other—and stay together—despite overwhelming odds.
The most important aspect to me about writing this story was that I wanted to subvert the idea of such a relationship being so one-sided. In other words, my goal was to create a plausible, balanced romance between a human man and a female automaton. The heroine in this story possesses an enormous amount of agency. So even though the story is told entirely from the hero’s point of view, The Watchmaker’s Lady has a distinct feminine tone.
In fact, a super secret twist in the story shows how I take the Pygmalion mythology to a whole new level! I hope you have fun keeping it a secret until your fellow readers discover it for themselves.
Thanks for visiting!
Want to know more about The Watchmaker’s Lady?
Matthew Goddard is a lonely watchmaker in 1840
When Matthew invites her to come live with him, she eagerly “accepts.” The couple embarks on a lust-filled affair, one fueled by Matthew’s wild imagination. In order to provide Isabel with a brass body and pretty clothes, he begins a secret side business selling clockwork sex toys to his wealthy female customers.
Danger, however, threatens their idyllic romance when a disgruntled customer exposes Matthew’s forbidden business to the townspeople. Despite the growing menace, Matthew will stop at nothing in order to save his soul mate—and protect their love.
If you’re interested in reading the first chapter of The Watchmaker’s Lady for free, you can download a copy at my Web site:
http://heathermassey.com/watchmakerslady.html (multiple formats available).
The Watchmaker’s Lady is available from Red Sage Publishing:
I also have a digital PDF copy of The Watchmaker’s Lady to give away right here at Star-Crossed Romance!
To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment for this post along with your email. Tell me about your favorite Pygmalion or other soul mate story. Alternately, you can email me at heather “at” heathermassey.com, subject line: Watchmaker Contest. The deadline to enter is three days from the time of this post.
To contact Heather:
Web site: heathermassey.com
-- Lynda Again,
All righty then. Make sure you leave a comment with your email by Monday so you can enter the drawing. The book sounds fantastic, doesn't it? I admit I love the Pygmalion styled stories and My Fair Lady is one of my favorites. What about you?