With its unique blend of Victorian style mixed with exciting inventions, it’s not hard to see why steampunk is such a hot subgenre right now. Young adult author Suzanne Lazear took her steampunk series Aether Chronicles to the next level by throwing faeries into the mix, creating a rich and inventive world, despite the naysayers. Today, Suzanne tells us how she created her unique brand of steampunk and why she thinks faeries are a natural fit for her series and its latest installment, Charmed Vengeance.
The world of my Aether Chronicles series is a little different. It’s not all steampunk, it’s not all faeries. It’s both, with a hefty dose of fairy-tale lore woven in.
In the beginning I got a lot of pushback for combining faeries and steampunk. You can’t do that, people told me over and over.
Why not? I’d reply.
They’re actually a very natural combination. The Victorians loved faeries. There were plenty of stories, art and hoaxes about faeries. Well-established people claimed faeries were real. Mixing the two makes sense. Also, they happen to be two of my favorite things.
In the Aether Chronicles series, we’re introduced to two very different worlds — my alternate version of 1901 Los Angeles which abounds with flying cars and hoverboards, and the Otherworld, which depends on humanity to exist, though mortals are relatively unaware of its existence.
Although I never make an issue of this in the series, traditionally, faeries are sensitive to iron. Wouldn’t a world of brass and steam be attractive to faeries? Perhaps in an alternate world, leaning toward these things was because of faery influence?
I drew on faery lore when crafting my story, taking bits of “wisdom” like never thank a faery and never eat faery food. I also made it my own, choosing to base my courts on elements instead of seasons.
In my world, aether, that amazing fifth element used often in steampunk works, is magic leaking from the Otherworld. However, the mortals occupying the steampunkian mortal realm are unaware of aether’s otherworldly origins.
Much of book one, Innocent Darkness, takes place in the Otherworld, which is another name for the realm of faerie. It’s a land literally made of magic, ruled by a crazy high faery queen, and filled with strange, magical and downright terrifying creatures.
Conversely, most of book 2, Charmed Vengeance, takes place in the mortal realm, on an airship. This gives us a much closer look at this alternate Victorian world as we get to know air pirates, go looking for automatons and avoid getting shot down by the air patrol.
Even though there are faeries in this steampunk, I’d like to think they complement each other, creating something new and imaginative, yet logical.
I really love this world I've created, filled with mortal girls who like to fix cars, exiled faery princes, evil queens and roguish huntsman. A world of intrigue, adventure and even a little romance.
Charmed Vengeance is my favorite book in the Aether Chronicles so far. The crew of the airship the Vixen’s Revenge was quite fun to write, as was the steampunk burlesque hall.
I hope you enjoy my steampunk faeries. I certainly know I’ve enjoyed writing them.
- Suzanne Lazear
Curious to learn more about Suzanne’s faerie-steampunk world? Then be sure to pick up the latest installment, Charmed Vengeance, in stores or online today. For more young adult books and authors, check out our Everything Young Adult Page!