Mina is a banshee whose greatest power lies in her siren song. She’s beholden to her boss Joey, a snake-shifter who once saved her life and now employs her as a gang enforcer. She refuses to upset the fragile balance between them by admitting that she longs for him, that his embrace is the only thing she craves more than revenge for her mother’s death…
When Mina learns that Joey may have been involved in her mother’s murder, fury threatens to spill out of her note by vicious note. She and Joey have always trusted each other to stay alive, but now she’s not sure what to believe. The evidence stacked against him—or the one man who haunts her dreams and burns her blood…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Poison Kissed.
Escaping into urban fantasy
Big thanks to Jackie for hosting me at Literary Escapism today! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me, since my new book Poison Kissed came out, but it’s great to be here!
The title of this blog got me thinking about escapism (duh!) and urban fantasy. What, if anything, are we seeking when we approach UF? Merely entertainment? Wish fulfilment? Or escape?
The world of urban fantasy novels is uncomplicated compared to the real world. It has good guys and bad guys, right and wrong, black and white. It’s a place where ordinary heroines have power over large-scale events – a world where little people can have control over their own lives, and take matters into their own hands. A world where the things we do matter.
So: is UF escapist fantasy? Are we reading it so we can forsake our insignificant daily lives for a world where we matter? And if so, why is so much urban fantasy so dark?
My Shadowfae series is dark and gritty with lots of steamy romance, and Poison Kissed is about Mina, a banshee enforcer in the midst of a supernatural gang war. It’s a classic tale of revenge and redemption, magical powers, inner struggle, good vs. evil. But it’s also a romance, and traditionally, romance is the genre of hope and wish fulfillment.
In paranormal romance, we write happy endings, bad boys with hearts of gold, people who make the right decision for the right reasons. Not that romances can’t be dark, or involve bad and tortured characters. Some of the best ones do! But romances reassure us that despite the darkness, so long as we stay true to what’s right, everything’s going to be okay.
In UF, everything might not be okay. We’re not guaranteed that happy ending. Still, it’d be a brave author who killed off the heroine at the end, or left her lonely and bereft of love. Even if it’s not a romance, as a reader I still want the heroine to triumph, to save the world and find happiness.
But as a writer, I have fewer rules to follow. I can write dark, dirty, flawed characters and have the audience sympathize. The heroine can be torn between a few different guys. She can make the wrong decision, or decide for the wrong reasons, and be forced to live with that. And she can keep the moral high ground, do all the right things, choose the right guy and still get her ass kicked for it.
This is the reason why my books are classified as UF, even though they’re pretty full on with the romance. Poison Kissed is the story of Mina and her snake-shifter boss, Joey – but it’s also about the value of revenge, and conquering the evil, angry beast inside us all, and Mina travels some dark and dirty roads before she finds her redemption.
In UF, there’s no magic fix. Crime pays. Love does not conquer all, and sometimes, the bad guys win. Compared to Romance Land, Urban Fantasy Town is more like the real world – but it’s a version of the real world where ordinary people have power. Average girls like us still kick ass and save the world and go out with gorgeous guys – but they do it in a place more like the world we know. So in reading UF, we can escape from reality without having to suspend too much disbelief. Kinda like paranormal romance for cynics :) just don’t tell anyone, okay?
So what do you prefer to read when you want to escape? A kick-ass UF heroine taking down the bad guys? Or a sexy paranormal romance where the heroine dates the bad guy?
Want to purchase Erica’s novels?
- Shadowfae at Amazon or the Book Depository
- Shadowglass at Amazon or the Book Depository
- Poison Kissed at Amazon or the Book Depository
Contest Time! Erica has graciously offered to give away a copy of Poison Kissed. All you have to do is answer Erica’s question: What do you prefer to read when you want to escape? A kick-ass UF heroine taking down the bad guys? Or a sexy paranormal romance where the heroine dates the bad guy?
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any of Erica’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.