Friday, March 16, 2012

Guest - Heather Massey

Good morning all! Our guest today is author Heather Massey. Heather is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for science fiction romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.


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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 New England. One fateful day, he discovers the lover of his dreams in a dusty corner of the local general store—Isabel, a bisque porcelain mannequin head with mesmerizing, smoky blue eyes.

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.

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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:
Twitter: thgalaxyexpress

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-- 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?

11 comments:

Pauline Baird Jones said...

Good morning! Fun blog post! Love My Fair Lady, though I always hoped for a more definitive happy ending? Anyway, the other that popped to mind was Alpha by Catherine Asaro? Congrats on the release of the book!

Phyllis M said...

Good morning Heather and Lynda, and thank you both for this interview. Heather, the book sounds wonderful and I would love to read it. My first experience with the Pygmalion theme was Anne McCaffrey's 'The Ship Who" series. It consists of 6 books and each one is an amazing read. You would love them.
And Pauline, I just got your book, The Key, yesterday and can't wait to start it!
Happy St. Patty's to you all. :)

Lynda K. Scott said...

I've been asked to post this for author Ella Quinn mjbrowningbaker@hotmail.com


I have to admit, I've never heard of clockpunk. Very interesting concept. I love your cover.

Karin Shah said...

Sounds great, Heather! I'll be looking for it! :-)

Susan Macatee said...

This sounds like a fascinating story, Heather! I remember reading and loving 'Body Electric'.

I also love the idea of soul mates and incorporate that theme into my time travel and reincarnation themed romances.

Best of luck with your new book!

Heather Massey said...

@Pauline Re: MFL: Yeah, I know what you mean. But I guess the more definitive one was the ending for PRETTY WOMAN, LOL!

@Phyllis Thanks for stopping by and for your interest!

@Lynda Thanks!

@Karin Good to "see" you! Thanks for visiting.

@Susan The theme is timeless, isn't it? So many potential ideas out there that can be used with a variety of settings. Best of luck with your stories!

bn100 said...

Very fun post. I like Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series since the characters seem destined for each other.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Liz S. said...

A clockwork sex doll is really a twist on this plot! Great concept!

lizsemkiu@gmail.com

Heather Massey said...

@bn100 Thanks for reading!

@Liz S. Thanks for your interest!

Na said...

An interesting premise. I don't think I've ever "met" a watchmaker.

Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Heather Massey said...

Hello again! Thanks so much to everyone who entered. The winner is Liz S.! Liz, I'll be in touch shortly.

Lynda, it was so fun to be here! Hats off to everything you do in support of futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal romance.