Happy Birthday Lord Byron!
The historical George Gordon, Lord Byron was born on January 22, 1788. I am celebrating his birthday week with a giveaway! Readers of Chasing the Star Garden know that Lord Byron plays an important, though a bit of a background role, in the first novel of The Airship Racing Chronicles. In book II, Chasing the Green Fairy, which releases March 4th, Byron plays a much bigger part. To celebrate his birthday, I wanted to talk about why I chose Byron as a central figure in my book.
Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. That is how Lady Caroline Lamb described the historical George Gordon, Lord Byron. When I decided to write a steampunk series, I knew that I wanted Lord Byron to be a central figure in my work. Byron was a rock star of his age. And honestly, if I can be all fan girl for a minute, he is pretty darned cute. When I set about creating my steampunk world, I didn’t want Queen Victoria or Tesla to be the sun in my solar system, I wanted Byron.
Bio on Byron
Given I can barely understand the man I’ve married, I knew I could not write from a man’s consciousness. Byron could not be my protagonist. Instead, I decided I would write from the perspective of one of Byron’s lovers. Lord Byron was infamous for his sexual appetites. In fact, he went into self-imposed exile to flee possible persecution and damage to his reputation for his bisexuality. I imagined that being in love with Byron would be a lot like being in love with any man you can’t quite tie down . . . thrilling and unfulfilling all at one. What kind of woman would be with Byron?
The Scandalous Adventures of Lord Byron with Rupert Everett
In walked the concept for Lily Stargazer. I wanted Lily to be a less than perfect character. I wanted her to have anti-hero qualities: questionable morality, cynicism, a self-destructive energy, a rebellious nature, and questionable sexual appetites. In other words, I wanted her to be a Byronic heroine! The term Byronic hero, as we know, is inspired by the attitude cultivated from the historical Lord Byron himself. Oh, the “Byrony.”
The irony for me was that I didn’t even really think about the fact that she was Byronic. I just wanted to write a character that was true to the dark, crappy sides of life. There is a tremendous body of literature on the indenturing of children during the Industrial Revolution in England. Children suffered in horrible working conditions that are akin to slavery. I wanted to write about a woman who suffered at the hands of others and did not bounce back
Children in Victorian England
Despite her terrible past, as revealed in the novel through flashbacks, I envisioned Lily Stargazer as a woman who accidently found herself in a profession that was typically male dominated: as an airship pilot. And I wanted Lily to be good at what she did, really good. In fact, I wanted to punk the norms of 1823 (and today, really) and make Lily the best at a male-dominated sport. Take that, male sports. Lily Stargazer, an airship racer with a famous lover and an opium addiction, was born.
Over the course of the next 3 (maybe 4) books, we will journey with Lily as she adventures on a path toward self-discovery. Who she is, her identity, is a quest that is desperately important for her, and one she is not 100% aware she's undergoing. Lily has been told who she is, has been defined by others, all her life. I don't think Lily ever had a moment to think clearly about who she wants to be. Over the course of the series, she'll figure it out, and Lord Byron's influence touches her in ways she could neither anticipate nor understand.
In Chasing the Green Fairy, Lily states:
"But I should have realized, trusted my instincts, which told me that my chance meeting with Byron would completely redirect the course of my life."
So today, I want to celebrate the "other" man in my life, Lord Byron, with a little birthday giveaway in honor of his birthday! I'm sure he would appreciate the attention :) Good luck in the giveaway and Happy Birthday, Lord B!
*Sections of this post reblogged from my guest stop at Emma Jane Holloway's blog