MFT Guest: Crista McHugh- Creating a Steampunk World

Today for the My Favorite Things Event we have the author of The Alchemy of Desire, Crista McHugh on to talk about Creating a Steampunk World.  
For a chance to win The Alchemy of Desire go to the Giveaway post of all the Carina Steampunk titles being featured.

Creating a Steampunk World
I have a confession to make. My Steampunk novel, the Alchemy of Desire, didn’t start out as a Steampunk story. It was originally a historical paranormal romance. But as I started world building, I had to create a sense of conflict, a reason why the mages would be forced into hiding, a reason why my hero and his brother would go on some crazy quest to find a creature that may not exist.
So I chose what I thought would be a natural enemy of “magic” – technology. And, boom! My Steampunk world was created.
There are many expectations with Steampunk – goggles, zeppelins, giant walkers, etc. But sometimes, it pays to go outside of the box. The world I tried to create is one where faith is at odds with science, something not that uncommon in our current world. It’s escapist, but still relevant enough that a reader understands the characters’ predicament and can hopefully immerse themselves in the world of the story.
What was an example where the world-building in a story seemed to be “universal”, even though it was something you weren’t exactly familiar with? Examples include a small town, a Regency drawing room or a medieval castle. How did the author take something unknown and draw you in so it became “real”?
About the Book:

After winning the Civil War against the Confederate Wielders, the Union Machinists have outlawed magic to usher in a new age of steam-powered technology. Diah, an alchemist and the only non-wielder in his family, owes his brother for saving his life in the war; so when Cager is blackmailed into procuring the magical hide of the White Buffalo, Diah accompanies him to the Dakota territory.Their guide is Oni, a half-Lakota woman with plenty of secrets to hide. She’s a magic wielder with an illegal wand concealed in her knife—and she’s a coyote shifter. To her people, killing the White Buffalo is not only sacrilege, it’s dangerous. Oni has no intention of helping them actually achieve their mission—until she falls in love with Diah…

I’m from the Dakota territory (aka South Dakota, lol) and this book sounds fabulous!

The Alchemy of Desire is available at Carina PressAmazon,Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers.
Learn more about Crista at her website.

This is just the beginning of this great event!  For the schedule of The Favorite Things event check out the schedule post.  And make sure you head over to My Bookish Ways to see what she has going on today as well!

Thanks for subscribing!


  1. Sounds like a really original concept :) I would love a chance to win!

    This is my extra entry for the contest!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  2. Hey, everyone! Thank you for commenting, and I apologize for the delay in responding — I’m right in the middle of moving.

    Andra, thank you! I had fun writing this story. I’m usually someone who has to have a firm outline in place before I write, but this just “flowed” once I knew the characters and the root of the story. I hope you like it.

    Darla, thank you!

    Offbeat, thank you! I wrote this novel in a month because it did flow so well… but it took me several rewrites to smooth it all and get the opening just right. Easy reading is damn hard writing, sometimes. :-)

    Pommawolf, thank you! I admit, Alchemy of Desire is not hard-core Steampunk, but there’s so much out there, so many twists in the genre alone that it makes for fun reading.

    Julie, thank you! I hope you enjoy this story!

    If anyone would like some of my romance trading cards, please email me at crista (at) cristamchugh (dot) com, and I’ll drop a set in the mail to you!

    Thanks again for having me, Candace!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge