Guest Blogger: Kate Austin
Kate's winner is: Becky. Congratulations, Becky! Thanks to everyone who participated.
I happen to love paranormal and I read it all the time – from vampires to witches to psychics and on to demons and ghosts. I love it all. But I’ve, over the years, thought of myself as a women’s fiction writer who writes a little magic realism into her books, the word realism being the key to the magic for me. So in Awakening, the heroine ends up in an alternate reality – kind of along the lines of the great old Gene Kelly movie, Brigadoon. In Seeing is Believing, the heroine has the gift (or curse) to see death in photographs. But these characters, and their worlds, are pretty normal in every other way. They live their lives in a way that you would recognize.
Paranormal, though, for me is a whole other ballgame. Werewolves don’t live their lives in a way that’s similar to our lives. Nor do vampires or demons or angels or even, for the most part, ghosts.
So I read paranormal writers for the same reason I read romantic suspense. I’m never going to write either of them – romantic suspense because you have to be able to plot a book and I can’t and paranormal because my characters basically live in this world – so my voice isn’t affected by the books I’m reading when I’m working on a book of my own.
Never say never.
If someone asked me (and they did, still do, because I read so much of it) what I would write if I wrote paranormal, I’d say if I wrote paranormal, I’d probably write about witches. Or maybe some kind of shapeshifter – though not a wolf for some reason. A cougar or a mountain lion. Definitely not demons. Too much Buffy, I think, for me to get into a demon as a romantic hero.
Never say never.
One day I was sitting with my partner on a deck next to the Pacific Ocean, the sun was shining and the water was as blue as the Pacific can get. And I asked him – he’s Persian – whether demons were something that showed up in Persian stories. Yes they do. So we started talking about demons and I wondered, out loud, what it would take to transform a demon into a good guy.
I added Ali and his story to a story a friend had told me a few days earlier about the boy who had once taken her to her high school prom and then disappeared from her life. He’d showed up after forty years, having followed her through friends and on Facebook and the Internet for almost five years before getting in touch with her.
Never say never.
I’m a writer who never brainstorms a book, never knows what’s going to happen in the next sentence, let alone the next paragraph. But after several hours and a few glasses of wine, I had the outline of the first Demon Next Door book. Ali, once Lord of all the demons, sprang into this world pretty much complete and all I had to do was write him down. Now Ali has a pretty active sex life – and his world demons don’t have sex – with the girl who lives next door to him and he needs to rescue her from – you guessed it – her high school prom date.
And for me the even weirder thing was this. I knew right from the start that there would be more than one book, that there would be many stories of demons following Ali into the human world. Morteza – a little bit of whose story shows up in the Pleasure Club series story called The Demon – is going to have a book of his own in the next couple of months.
So I’ve learned my lesson. Never say never. Because the world is just out there waiting to make you eat those words.