What the Heck is Steampunk Anyway? Author Heather Hiestand Explains

What is Steampunk?

Thanks for allowing me to visit today, Suzanne, and share one of my favorite topics.

Steampunk is an exciting buzzword in the arts right now, but what is it? From my point of view, it is a form of alternative history literature or art (including fashion) which involves gadgets, often based on Victorian steam technology. That’s the steam part. The other part, the “punk,” is some level of rebellious attitude. While my steampunk has been based in Victorian London, which has fascinated me since I started reading romance novels in the 1990s, writers have taken it all over the universe and all through time. It’s the gadgets and attitude that really make steampunk.

Steampunk fiction is often set from about 1850 to 1920, but I’ve seen it set in the future, in Ancient Rome, and just about anywhere else. Common gadgets are airships, ray guns, computers and automatons (robots) and since I grew up reading my father’s science fiction novels, this part holds definite appeal for me.  Fashion is very important in most steampunk tales. Usually, historical Victorian clothing is the departure point, from whatever country the story is set in, like corsets, frock coats, hats and boots. Social mores will probably be stylized in some fashion. Once again, the formality of Victorian times is usually the starting point.

What are these stories about? The author might concern themselves with the plight of the poor and social inequalities, or the lives of rebels against the government or the bad guys. There might be a quest of some kind, or a tale of survival. Possibilities are endless. Characters might come from the upper crust of society, the working class or poor, or even the underworld. It’s not unusual to find paranormal creatures as well. Vampires found a new home in steampunk, but I’ve also seen werewolves, wizards and Native American magic. The type of society is important too, over all. It might be open, regressive, or even dangerous.

As you can see, the playing field is vast. Steampunk isn’t just about brass goggles and you’ll find a wide variety of exciting fiction when you dip into this genre.

~ Heather Hiestand



Heather Hiestand’s latest release is steampunk romance novella Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas.


Housemaid Linet Fenna would rather be an air pirate than a servant. When she finds the ladder to an airship dangling outside her garret window on Christmas Eve, 1892, she ascends to the skies above London on her late father’s flagship dirigible, the Christmas. The new captain is someone she never expected to see again, a dangerous, sexy foe. Is the Fenna family nemesis offering Linet her heart’s desire or a dastardly trap?

Captain Andrew’s motivations are as foggy as the coal-soaked sky. Prime Minister Gladstone’s Blockaders, a horde of automen and a teenage girl named Hatchet want Linet to fail in her quest to discover what happened to her missing family, but she is determined to have a happy Christmas.

Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas is a 16,000-word steampunk romance novella.

Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas links:

Available at: Amazon, Smashwords, BN.com and All Romance ebooks:


Thanks Heather for being my guest at Child of Yden!

– S.G. Rogers

Question mark machine illustration: © Drizzd | Dreamstime.com

5 thoughts on “What the Heck is Steampunk Anyway? Author Heather Hiestand Explains”

  1. Oooo…Heather, Flying Christmas sounds just like my kind of story. I love your description of steampunk. This is a genre I haven’t attacked yet, but maybe one day. Great post, Suzanne!


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