Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Guest Blogger: Mindy Klasky

The winner of Mindy's book is: Crystalgb! Congratulations! And thanks to everyone for participating.

Crayons, Reese's, and the Paranormal

Do you remember getting one of those amazing boxes of 64 crayons when you were a kid? Some of the colors were similar, but each had a unique name. Blue-Green was much more green than the somewhat confusingly named Green-Blue (it was always the last color in the name that dominated the shade.)

And are you old enough to remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup advertising campaign, the spots where one person was single-mindedly eating a chocolate bar and another person was single-mindedly eating peanut butter? They collided, and they started to complain ("You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter on my chocolate!") And then they realized that they'd invented an amazing combination taste treat?

I think of crayons and candy every time I sit down to write. (No, not just because I'd rather be illustrating my work in 64 colors. And not because I need a snack. WANT a snack, yes, but need a snack? No.)

Once upon a time, I was an author of classic fantasy novels. My first six novels, The five volumes of The Glasswrights Series and a stand-alone called SEASON OF SACRIFICE, were created for a traditional fantasy audience. They were set in pseudo-medieval worlds, where caste and hierarchies determined characters' abilities to act. They had wholly imagined settings, unlike any place in the real world. They were blue. They were chocolate.

Now, though, I write paranormal romance. My Jane Madison Series is a bit more complex than my early fantasies (even if the books themselves are lighter, more humorous.) GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL tell the story of Jane Madison, a librarian in contemporary Washington, D.C., who discovers that she's a witch. There are some fantastic (stemming from fantasy) aspects of the story-telling: Jane awakens a familiar, transforming a statue of a cat into a living, breathing man. She works spells, using crystals and runes. There is plenty of fantasy, plenty of blue, plenty of chocolate.

But there's also green and peanut butter in Jane Madison's world. At the same time that Jane grapples with her magic identity, she's trying to work out her role as an ordinary woman -- a girlfriend, a best friend, a daughter, a granddaughter. She worries about her job, and about paying the rent. She obsesses (just a little) about clothes and makeup. There's green, to contrast with the blue. Peanut butter, to contrast with the chocolate.

Individual chapters of the books sway more to the magic than the real world -- they're the classic Crayola combination "Green-Blue." Other chapters emphasize the human, the ordinary - the creamy core of the peanut butter cup, with just a bit of tongue-teasing chocolate around the edges.

Combined, the Jane Madison series is something wholly separate from plain blue or plain green, from lonely chocolate or lonely peanut butter.

Some of my traditional fantasy readers have followed me along my path of writing evolution. Other Jane Madison readers have back-tracked into my older works. I receive regular email encouraging me toward old blends, or demanding new ones. For now, I'm enjoying the variety that Paranormal Romance enables -- I'm a chemist in my writing kitchen.

What about you? Do you prefer books that are more single-minded in their approach -- more pure fantasy, more pure romance, more pure chick-lit? Or do you like blends? Let me know in comments below -- I'll be choosing one commenter at random to receive a copy of one of the Jane Madison Series books (your choice, which one!) Leave your email address, or check back here to see who won!

Men come and go, but magic is forever. Right?


Blogger Dawn M. said...

I grew up reading the books that were pure fantasy, romance or science fiction. And I did enjoy them. But I much prefer the blended books. I get to have a little bit of everything I like...very satisfying. :0)

2:17 AM  
Blogger Margay Leah Justice said...

Welcome, Mindy. I love your book cover - the cat looks like one of my black cats. As far as my tastes in books, I like a variety. It doesn't have to be straight romance or straight fantasy; it can be a combination of the two. What's most important to me is that it's a good story. Entertaining.

5:04 AM  
Blogger Ruth Schaller said...

The books that have the combination I find are far more satisfying! I don't like outright romance, but I do like the books that have romance with some fantasy or paranormal effects to it!

6:02 AM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

I enjoy blended books. You get some of both worlds. I love the cover of your book.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Growing up, I was all romance, but now, I need a mix. The straight romances just get on my last nerve. I guess I have gotten to the point where I am too cynical for straight romance.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always loved the 64 box Crayola crayons and those old Reese's peanut butter/chocolate spots, just as I've always loved romance. I haven't had the opportunity to read your books, but your blog has intrigued me. I too love your book's cover, and I have an adorable black cat! :)
I still enjoy my historical romances, along with some straight fantasy/sci-fi, but I also need blended books that are light and a bit humorous yet with a believable story these days. It sounds like your new series provides that combination! Nice to "meet you!" :)

10:44 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

I love all types! The blended books are so much fun, though, and I particularly like the strong thread of humor in the Jane books.

Your books are such fun! Keep it up!


1:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I want to start this with how much I completely enjoy your books.

Now, to answer your question, I'm not particular as to the genre. While I tend to lean more towards Historical Fiction/Fiction with a dash of Chick Lit, I prefer a book that has an engaging story. I want a story where I'll lose myself in it so much that I won't have noticed that two hours have passed. Now that I think on it, though, can you really have a solid story that is just, say, Sci-Fi with nothing blended in? A bit of romance, some action...It would be a rather dull story if it were limited to just one genre.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love thhe interview!
though i havnt reead anyting by you minday, your writing sounds great

5:48 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

I don't have a fav, I just like whatever gets my curiously going, lol.

I do remember the Resses commercials too. :)

5:57 PM  
Blogger Mindy Klasky said...

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful comments! It's interesting too read about how many people started reading with a preference for a single genre, but have grown to enjoy blended works!

The Random Integer Generator at has done its work, and the winner of one free Jane Madison novel is Crystalgb (the fourth commenter.) Crystal - send me your full name and street address - - and let me know which of the Jane Madison books you would like me to send to you!

Thanks, everyone, for this kind reception, here at Paranormality Universe!

6:31 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Mindy! Thanks so much for graciously guest blogging! I've been stuck at work a lot for the last couple of days and missed all the fun! I'll post the winner info at the top of the post, too. Thanks again.
Hugs, Lynda

2:11 PM  
Blogger xblvr said...

I have an unused box of crayons sitting around my house. They bring back such good childhood memories.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Daelith said...

Brought back so memories with the crayons and Reese's.

I enjoy a blend of things with fantasy/paranormal and romance (not so much chick lit). But I really like my action scenes. For me that keeps things moving. I never have liked getting bogged down in dealing with feelings/emotions though.

Since I recently won a book here, don't worry about entering me in the drawing. Give some others a chance. :)

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok.. funny story. So, my hubby and I met online. But back then (this would be 8 years ago) it wasn't the coolest thing to admit. So for the first couple months he told people that choco./peanut butter thing. "She was walking down the street, eating some chocolate, and I was walking while eating peanut butter. And we crashed into each other.. and at first I was like "You got your chocolate in my pb" and she said "you got your pb in my chocolate".. then we realized we had something there. It was hysterical!

12:05 PM  
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6:22 PM  
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1:04 AM  

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