Ever since I read an article about how Volvo is having difficulties developing their self-driving cars down under, I’ve had questions I’ve been dying to ask an Australian. I reached out to none other than Bec McMaster, taking shameless advantage of her latest release of TO CATCH A ROGUE, and asked her a few questions.
From an American’s perspective, much of Australia’s wildlife is trying to kill you. But is it really?
There are a lot of animals that can kill you in Australia, but most of them would rather avoid you, than bother you. If you stay out of their way, then you’re pretty safe.
I live in Victoria, far from the beach, so most of the more dangerous creatures (crocs, blue-ringed octopuses, sharks, cassowaries etc.) are far away from me. If you don’t know what a cassowary is, look it up. Those blighters are mean.
Mind you, I did step on a tiger snake in our local gym one night when I was stretching. It was winter, so he was sleepy, but I might have been in trouble if it was summer. Most snakes will avoid you, but tiger’s are very aggressive. Let’s just say, I experienced more of a cardio work out in the five minutes after I stepped on it, than my entire session. The funniest thing is that my friend was running on the treadmill at the time, and if you’ve ever watched someone try to get off a treadmill at full pace, it’s quite hilarious.
I will admit I may be slightly traumatized from the experience: I have not been back to that gym since.
Which creature of your continent is actually a real concern?
Definitely drop bears. Google them 🙂
Which terrifies you most and why?
Sharks. I’m not a fan of sharks, though I respect their right to survive. We’re entering their home turf, after all. I guess it’s the fear of the unknown that unnerves me. When you’re in the ocean, it’s difficult to know what is out there swimming with you. I love the beach, but you have to be careful where you swim, and what time of day you’re swimming (or wading).
I might be mad, but I really want to go cage diving with the Great White Sharks in Capetown one day—because you can confront that fear in a safe environment.
In your London steampunk books, has anything distinctively Aussie snuck in? What? How?
Honestly, probably not. A common piece of writing advice is to write what you know, but for me, writing is a chance to escape the ordinary. I want to visit worlds beyond that which I live in. I want to dwell in a time not my own. I write romance in a world of its own, so it’s a chance to dream—and to invite others into those worlds, those escapades.
The most “Australian” thing I could probably point to in my books is the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. It’s a national requirement of being Australian. Thou shalt ‘take the piss’ out of yourself and others on a frequent basis to show you love them. My hero and heroine often engage in duels of sarcasm, and show their love for others (friends, family) by teasing them.
Though USA TODAY bestselling author Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains.
Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.
To chat with Anne, stop by on Facebook or join the Department of Cryptobiology Facebook group. You can also join her newsletter list to have cover reveals, sneak peaks, sales and giveaways delivered straight to your inbox.