Hey and Happy Friday everyone! Today, I have Laurel Wanrow on the Blog to promote her an amazing sounding story: The Unraveling, which you should make sure to check out!!
Here is Laurel for you with Ten Facts and Fictions about The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads:
When I wrote my steampunk fantasy, I originally set The Unraveling in a fantasy world. However, I patterned my imaginary world so closely on Victorian England that a writing partner suggested I use a real English setting. An British friend helped pick the location of Derby and the nearby Peak District, where most of the story takes place. As it turned out, making this change was the easy part. Afterwards, I had a thousand little details to get correct…or try to get correct for my story set in 1868. Some I didn’t get correct on purpose.
Here are ten facts and fictions about Victorian life, Derby, and The Unraveling:
- Derby, England is the location of the world’s first industrial factory, Lombe’s Mill, a silk mill built in 1717. Perfect setting for a story antagonist who owns a machinery factory.
- John Whitehurst II started a clockmaking business in Derby in 1736, and his apprentice John Smith became his successor in 1856. Because of the presence of both clockmakers and the steam industry in the area, I created farm machines operating with a mix of each.
- Every steampunk story needs a steam train scene! The North Midland Railway really did run a branch line out to Rowsley in 1849, before my heroine needed it in 1868. However, I had to create the additional branch line going to Gapton. And Gapton!
- The limestone plateau underlying the White Peak area really does make the soil poor for farming, but it’s famous for its rare plant species and caves, all three of which provided inspiration for adventurous bits of the story, but telling which would be a spoiler!
- Victorian women didn’t usually work, unless as servants or merchant’s wives, however, in my story women hold jobs as equally as men. In rural areas many women helped in gardens and fields, but they would have worn sturdy work dresses, never trousers, or a bib-and-brace.
- The name ‘bib-and-brace’ has confused a number of my readers, but to be correct for the times, I couldn’t call this pair of trousers with an attached front patch and shoulder straps ‘overalls’ like we do today. Overalls in the 1800s were a complete garment worn to protect clothing underneath while working, what we know as coveralls. The denim fabric “bib overalls” that became popular in the 1960, are the look I was after when dressing both men and women on my story’s farm.
- By 1859, gas lighting was common in Britain, due largely to the demand for lighting to provide longer working hours in the factories—and very useful in a mechanic’s workshop for creating devices to fight mysterious pests. Like in real life, up until 1891, coal provided the fuel, piped in from gasworks, so the gaslights at the time were commonly wall or ceiling fixtures, not freestanding.
- Indoor plumbing would have been rare. Bathing rooms had bathtubs, but not “showers” which is why I named the invention my hardworking characters use a “spray wash.”
- Satchels, or haversacks, made of leather or oiled canvas were used in the mid 1800’s but probably not by women. By carrying one, Annmar shows early in the story that she’s not likely to conform to society’s expectations for proper Victorian women.
- When including shapeshifters in this fantasy (Yes, shapeshifters in a steampunk story, and I’m not the only one to do it!) I wanted to use animals native to Britain, and though wolves were extinct by 1680, there is a tale of one being spotted as late as 1880, so I decided I could have wolves and wrote them in as a hidden surviving colony.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little behind the scenes research tour of The Unraveling: part history, part balking against societal norms, part creative inventions, part fantasy.
- by Laurel Wanrow
- Series: The Luminated Threads, Volume One
- Genre: Steampunk Fantasy Romance geared to New Adults
- Published: June 23, 2015
- Get a copy on Amazon
- Add it to your shelf on Goodreads
In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…
…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.
Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn’t know if she’ll ever belong.
Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won’t be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.
As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.
THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older). This is Volume 1 of THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of the releases of Volume 2 (fall, 2015) and Volume 3 (winter 2015/16), sign up for Laurel’s Newsletter.
Find Laurel Wanrow:
Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
A signed print copy and a eCopy of The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads. Giveaway courtesy of the author!