Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My take on UF

 One of my novels was included in Under an Enchanted Skyline: Eight Complete Works of Urban Fantasy in One Boxed Set by eight different authors. It was a time limited special edition. It is now out of print. It was a fun project while it lasted and had great sales.

The editor sent out the following questions and here are my answers:

In Urban Fantasy the location of the story is often more than just a setting; it’s a character, and influences in what happens in the story. Does the city in your story have such and impact and how?

The Sunspinners series is set in a wealthy neighborhood where neighbors politely ignore the protagonist’s household. Possibly they assume there is an insane auntie in the upstairs room, complete with a Jane Eyre nurse. This allows the paranormal family to function without interruptions. Across town is the neighborhood setting of the Mudflat Magic series and is the opposite in that all the low income families in Mudflat know everything about each other. This creates totally different plot complications.

Some Urban Fantasy stories have a divide between the people and creatures who use and know magic and the normal everyday humans. Do you think this affects how some characters respond to emergencies?
Weak magic runs through the Mudflat families and results in them covering for each other. The paranormal sunspinners would love to have a little magic. It would make their lives so much easier. Instead all they have is a normal everyday human to cover for them and yes, it affects their behavior. They have added more security devices to their home than ADT ever dreamed of.

While not every Urban Fantasy story uses classic monsters, there’s a lot of them in the genre.  How has the use of monsters changed over the years and what makes your monsters unique if you use any of them?
There are earthdemons threatening the sunspinners, and they are a specific race and unrelated to classic monsters. In Mudflat the monsters usually look like normal people so are hard to spot. None of my monsters are based on any I have ever read about. I like to think up my own creatures.

While Urban Fantasy is popular right now, not every one enjoys all aspects of the subgenre. To keep the genre going, what are some of the more unique trends in UF and what would you like to see more of?
Originality. Each book or series has to have new ideas. That’s why I came up with the heroine of the Turning Vampire series. She is a sweet teenager who has to learn to survive as a vampire but works hard at being a good person and never harming anyone. When all your nourishment has to come from human blood, fresh from the source, it ain’t easy being sweet.

Most Urban Fantasy stories center on magical beings or creatures, normal people still have an important role in the story line. Do normals have much of an impact in your UF story and in what way?
Always. It is the normals who have to solve the problems created by magic and by paranormals. Sorry, no superheroes here.

As we know, magic in these UF worlds can take many forms. Some are able to use it and some aren’t. Why do you think magic (of any form) such a popular concept?
Wouldn’t we all love to mumble a few spells and have our problems solved? But then there would be no story. Instead, the protagonists have to plod on alone, suffer a lot, and learn to depend on their wits rather than physical strength. Unlike romances, urban fantasies do not require ‘happy ever after’ endings.

Monsters have been around for ages in stories.  History is full of them. What kind of impact has Urban Fantasy had in dispelling some of the myths associated with some of these creatures from the past and how do you think it will shape the future?
Hmm. Maybe Homer was the first urban fantasy storyteller, earning his livelihood by entertaining his audiences with tales of real cities and normal people and scary monsters. Did he try to shape the future with his tales? I don’t think so. If I had the smarts to shape a better future for the world, I would go into politics, I guess. Instead, I write stories to entertain.