Please join us in welcoming author Heidi Cullinan today on the tour for her new steampunk novel Clockwork Heart. Heidi’s dropped in with some Fun Facts about the book, and is also offering a couple of chances to win some great prizes, including a tour-wide Rafflecopter contest for the chance to win a paperback copy of the book, plus a Clockwork Heart keychain. Your comment below will also enter you for the chance to win an e-copy of the book exclusively here at The Novel Approach.
And now, here’s Heidi.
The Austrian Empire is the weaker empire in Clockwork Heart, but I borrowed heavily from the history of the true Austrian nobility.
Today the Austrian nobility is nothing more than a status symbol, their privileges abolished in 191 after the fall of Austria-Hungary. Its roots go back to the Holy Roman Empire, and the House of Habsburg was influential across Europe from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. There were also Jewish nobles in the Austrian nobility, though there were sadly only few.
The nobility was comprised by the Imperial family, the higher nobility, and the lower nobility. Their influence and dominance in European culture is phenomenal, and the stories of their lives are fascinating. One such real life drama is quietly grafted into our story. Princess Gisa in Clockwork Heart—Princess Giselle Elisabeth Esterhàzy von Hohenburg—uses her cousin’s wife’s name to contact the pirates because her cousin’s wife is serving as a social shield. This referenced woman is the real-life wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the man whose assassination launched the western world into war in the early 20th century. Franz Ferdinand was in love with Countess Sophie Chotek. She wasn’t high enough nobility to be a member of the Imperial family, but Franz and Sophie wouldn’t be parted and kept their relationship alive in secret. They were eventually allowed to have what is called a morganatic marriage, which meant their descendants would have no succession rights to the throne—a moot point, as the throne itself was about to dissolve forever. They died together in the assassination attempt on the Archduke by a member of Young Bosnia.
The empire of Austria in our world fell with the other nobilities as the world adjusted its sense of importance and construction of the ruling and political class, as power shifted from Europe to America, as two wars forever altered the layout and direction of the continent. Clockwork Heart explores that same sense of shift but in a different way, seizing on technology and connection as a means to realizing a better future. The question is, can history truly change? Or is our story, even in its alternate versions, always the same?
About the Book: Love, adventure and a steaming good time.
As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.
Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.
When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.
Warning: Contains tinkers, excessive clockwork appendages, and a cloud-sweeping tour of Europe. A little absinthe, a little theft, a little exhibitionism. Men who love men, women who love women, and some who aren’t particular.
Purchase Links: HeidiCullinan.com
About the Author: Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
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