Erotica author R.G. Alexander dons the pseudonym Rachel Grace for her new Elemental Steam series, the first of which, Geared for Pleasure, releases today. This book introduces readers to two members of the royal entourage. Dare, known as the Queen's Chalice and Cyrus, the Queen's Sword will do anything to protect their ruler, but protecting their hearts is not as easy. To find out more about this world, which is filled with familiar steampunk trappings as well as some entirely unique creatures, we asked the author what inspired her writing. And we were absolutely delighted to learn that it was real life friends that gave Rachel Grace the idea for her characters.
HOW IT BEGAN:
The idea for Geared for Pleasure started with a phone call and four very different author friends over three years ago. One was wise beyond her years, witty and determined. Her writing was tight, her characters were strong and the passion uncompromising. A breath of fresh air. One was seemingly wild and undeniably magnetic, yet achingly vulnerable and kind. Her writing voice was unique and unapologetically erotic. Fiery. The third was experienced and sensual — the woman everyone automatically looked to for leadership. Her writing flowed like water, beautiful and complicated with undercurrents that could sweep anyone away.
And then there was me. Still kind of new to the game, still in awe of how much I didn't know. They teased me about it occasionally. Lovingly of course. I was fascinated that we four, who didn't outwardly seem to have that much in common other than writing erotic romance, always seemed to have so much to talk about. And I, having a tendency to romanticize everything, starting to think about why. We were as different as the elements. Air, earth, water and fire (though there would be arguments in later days as to who was what). Then I thought, we're kind of like the Musketeers aren't we? Our personalities and our "All for One!" attitude. Only we write Smut.
Once we started to call ourselves the Smutketeers, I instantly began to think of a story. My friends were the perfect characters of course.
Smutketeers in Space? Maybe.
I worked on it a bit but we got distracted by the idea of a group blog. A group blog that has since become more than we'd ever imagined it would. I traded in the idea of futuristic crew when we all donned corsets and pointed our steampunky ray guns at the camera during our first photo shoot. Of course it had to be a steampunk fantasy. Alchemy, corsets and mayhem. The Dreamer. The Scholar. The Sensualist. The Wild Child. It was the perfect fit.
HOW IT EVOLVED:
I wrote notes off and on for a year and a half. It started with the characters. Their names had to be perfect. Had to represent their personality, their element, and the world they lived in. Demeter “Dare” and Seraphina had just popped into my head, and I knew they were right. Then I found the captain's. Captain Nerida Amaranthe's entire name reflects, not only her element of water, but two amazing flowers. The water lily or lotus, which is a recurring symbol of importance in the story, and the Amaranth — which is praised in myth and poem as being immortal. Another recurring theme in the world. Immortality.
The men's names were important too. For the first hero, I decided to use a name that I'd been holding on to, in one variation or another, for years. I'd always loved Bodhi, a name that means enlightenment or awakened. There is also the name Bohdan that means God given. Since I was including multiple mythologies and cultures in my world, I combined them and came up with Bodhan. It fit his roguish character perfectly.
The world began to evolve as I named and created these characters. And then it grew. And grew. And grew. Until it became a place I got lost in. Not just a town or a society but a strange world of black deserts, jagged mountains, and uncharted landscapes. A harsh but beautiful place filled with one mystery after another. Including a queen who never aged and a government — The Theorrean Raj — who kept society separated into castes, and held back progress for the masses in favor of their own hidden agendas. I can't tell you too much more without spoiling the story for you. Let's just say what started out as a fun, clockworky-swashbuckling homage to my friends, has become a whole universe with characters that took on lives of their own. The ones I'd once known, and the ones that the world of Theorrey introduced me too.
I hope you enjoy it, because I know I can't wait to get back.
- Rachel Grace
Does this steampunk-esque world have you intrigued? You can pick up a copy of Geared for Pleasure, available in stores now. And for more sensual stories, reviews of recent releases and genre news be sure to visit RT's Everything Erotica Page.