We are very happy to welcome L.A. Witt to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. L.A.’s latest novel Precious Metals is available on Riptide Publishing. Precious Metals is the second book in the Metals universe.
L.A. Witt is an author of gay erotic romances, and has been recently exiled from Okinawa, Japan, to Omaha, Nebraska. She resides there with her husband, a telekinetic goldfish, and two incredibly spoiled cats. It’s unclear if the exile was the result of the mostly classified “Aquarium Incident,” or if she’s actually being hidden, for her protection, from the Polynesian Mafia and her arch nemesis, erotic romance author .
Connect with L.A.:
Jodi: Thank you L.A. for joining us on the blog. You are a very prolific writer delving into various universes and worlds. Precious Metals and Noble Metals both take place during the late 1800s or turn of the century. What type of research did you have to do regarding the setting (Alaska) and time period?
L.A.: I knew a fair amount about the Klondike Gold Rush already, but had to brush up (it had been a while!), and also just do some general research about details like clothing, food, etc. And of course, for both books, I had to research transportation and mining—mostly so that I could change them via steampunk.
Jodi: Why did you choose to focus the action of the story on the Klondike Gold Rush?
L.A.: I’ve always wanted to write something in the Klondike Gold Rush, and when the idea of winter-themed steampunk came up, it fit perfectly.
Jodi: It is interesting that Paul and Joseph know they are attracted to men, but they also know they should not talk about. Joseph even mentions that he took this adventure before he decided to get married. Did you do research regarding homosexuality during this time period? Is there a lot of research available on this subject?
L.A.: There isn’t a whole lot available regarding homosexuality in that time/place, but I found whatever I could. The consensus was that homosexuality existed (obviously), but wasn’t widely accepted. Particularly in communities where it wasn’t accepted, I don’t imagine it would take much for a young man to figure out that looking at other young men was a bad idea.
Jodi: Constable Paul Benson is an intriguing character. He flees his home to avoid a scandal, and although he seems to keep his sexuality quiet, the men he works with seem to know the truth. How do they know?
L.A.: I think when you work in close quarters with people, you tend to figure it out. I know a lot of guys in the military who haven’t been open about their sexuality, but the others catch on when a man doesn’t notice women, etc. So in Paul’s case, I think that to varying degrees, the other guys know there’s something different about him, but don’t all necessarily know he’s gay. Some have certainly figured it out, though, or at least strongly suspect.
Jodi: Joseph is a very passionate and determined young man. Tell us a little about his character and motivation to keep going on his journey.
L.A.: Joseph is kind of your typical wild-eyed kid who wants to see and do everything, gets bored easily, and thinks danger is a small price to pay for adventure. But he’s also very devoted to his family, and he’ll gladly put himself into real danger for the sake of one of his brothers. When he goes to the Klondike, he’s mostly in search of adventure, and to see if the machine they’ve built will really work and dig up the gold more efficiently. His second journey to the Klondike, though, is solely to save his younger brother. By that point, he’s realized that adventure is not worth it — particularly after losing his eldest brother — but he refuses to give up until he’s saved his brother or he’s dead himself.
Jodi: Although Paul and Joseph are only together a short period of time, they both risk their lives for each other. Is it the harsh conditions that accelerate their emotional bond or simply finding someone who accepts them for who they are?
L.A.: I think it’s a little of both. When you’re in a those harsh conditions with someone, and you’re relying on them and nobody else in a situation where either of you could be dead without warning, it does create a bond fairly quickly. I’ve met people who’ve fallen in love on the battlefield, and it’s the same thing. There’s a good chance one or both of you is going to die, so when you form a connection with someone, there’s a sense of urgency that isn’t there under normal circumstances, and emotions do crazy things. Plus when you’re relying on that person to keep you alive, it creates a bond of sorts. Throw in the sexual attraction and the realization that this person is okay with who you really are (when most people are not), and you’ve got a recipe for people falling very fast, very hard.
Jodi: Although this is the second book in the metals universe, the book can be read as a standalone. As an author, do you prefer that people read your books in order, or does it not make a difference?
L.A.: It doesn’t make a difference. They’re meant to be completely separate stories, just set in the same world. If it’s an actual series, like the Tooth & Claw trilogy or the Cover Me trilogy, then you’d definitely want to read them in order. But books like this where they’re just in the same world, it really doesn’t matter.
Jodi: Is the difference in generations the reason the two men view being openly gay differently?
L.A.: Difference in generations, different regional upbringing, different personality types… I think there’s a number of reasons why the boys feel differently about it. Plus in Joseph’s case, he’s confident that his family will be happy he’s alive at all, especially after losing their eldest son, so they won’t split hairs over who he’s sleeping with.
Jodi: What is the most challenging aspect of writing a historical novel?
L.A.: Getting the facts straight. I second guess myself at every turn, particularly since there are so many little details that seem trivial, but can pull someone right out of a story. Would someone in this era/setting have lace-up boots or pull-on? What would his gloves be made out of? Things like that.
Jodi: Was it a challenge to intermingle the violence and romance in this book?
L.A.: I’m sure this makes me a terrible person, but…no. LOL. I’ve been putting those two together for quite some time—A Chip In His Shoulder, The Left Hand of Calvus, etc. And of course, when I join forces with Aleksandr Voinov, stuff like Hostile Ground and Unhinge the Universe. I guess it’s just fun to make people fall in love in the middle of chaos.
Jodi: What inspired you to make Joseph a differently abled character?
L.A.: Getting from Seattle to the Klondike is a grueling, hellish journey to begin with. I wanted to make it extra difficult for Joseph, in part because I like making my characters work for everything, and in part because I think it really underscores what kind of person Joseph is. He’s not going to let anything—weather, terrain, an artificial leg, bandits, lack of provisions—keep him from having an adventure, and he’s damn sure not going to let them keep him from saving his brother.
For Constable Paul Benson of the North-West Mounted Police, monotony is a blessing. As a provision inspector below the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush, he’s seen miserable conditions and gold fever turn civilized prospectors into madmen.
Joseph Starling is on his way to the Klondike to find the men who savagely beat him, murdered his eldest brother, and stole their mining machine. They’ll kill his youngest brother if Joseph doesn’t operate the machine for them—it won’t work without him. With time running out, Joseph must purchase an expensive ticket aboard a crash-prone airship. But the station is miles away through dangerous terrain.
Under orders, Paul grudgingly escorts Joseph, but quickly finds himself intrigued by the young man. As they make their way toward Juneau, it’s not just the need for warmth that drives them closer together. But neither man can draw an easy breath until they make it to the gold fields . . . and there’s no guarantee that Joseph’s brother will still be alive when they do.
Gaslamp Fortnight: A Steampunk Book Tour – October 27th – November 7th
Authors L.A. Witt, Alexis Hall, and Cornelia Grey come together on a Steampunk book tour to celebrate the releases of Precious Metals, Prosperity, and Circus of the Damned.
Join us on adventures through the lawless, untamed, kraken-infested skies! Trek the snowy wilds of the Klondike in the company of a Mountie! Visit a soul-stealing circus where entertainment is at your own risk! Riptide's Gaslamp Fortnight will tempt you with the steampunk and gaslamp worlds of Cornelia Grey, Alexis Hall, and L.A. Witt.
And Gaslamp Fortnight is featuring a fabulous giveaway! Comment on the tour stops for a chance to win a $250 gift certificate to and get your own custom corset or personalized steampunk gear. Each new post you comment on earns you an entry into the drawing, so be sure to check out , too!
Hello I’m Sharon Ince and I own . We are a UK based company that creates unusual sewing and crafting patterns, clothing, corsetry, props and accessories with a wide range of themes from Steampunk, Sci-Fi, Victorian, Gothic and Burlesque.
We have produced work for a large diversity of clients, including The Disney Corporation, the BBC costuming department, Sky TV, Working Title films as well as several Hollywood production companies and local theatre and film productions.
I have always loved to design and I’m self-taught. In fact I started at the early age of about 5 years old and have never stopped. I love to work with leather, sew natural fabrics, sculpt, and build my house with stone and wood; though my real passion is to design.
When I am starting out on a new design the hours fly by and I’m lost in the perfect bliss of experimenting, mathematical calculation, followed by the thrill of seeing the idea become reality.
My love of Gothic literature, mad inventors and scientists and all things Victorian has always filtered through my thoughts and designs, so when I first discovered the emerging Steampunk community some years ago many of my creations found their family niche.