I am excited to welcome author Melanie Card, who has just released the fabulous Ward Against Death.
Twenty-year-old Ward de Ath expected this to be a simple job bring a nobleman s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can t be a surgeon the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying so bringing people back from the dead it is.
But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can t bring himself to break his damned physician s Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems including Celia. One second, she s treating Ward like sewage, the next she s kissing him. And for a nobleman s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away an ebook of Ward Against Death.
Writing In The Spaces In Between
Thank you Jackie for having me on your blog today. I’m excited to be here. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about genre and audience and that enormous gray space between black and white and absolutes. It came about from a discussion I had with some friends about whether my novel, Ward Against Death, was YA or adult fiction, are my protagonists good, and if the book was urban fantasy or not?
And the answer is… maybe. All of the above.
My hero, Ward, and my heroine, Celia, are 20 years old—on the cusp between youth and adult. So not quite YA but not quite adult fiction either. Ward wants to save lives but the magic he possesses is all about death, and while he tries to do the right thing, sometimes that involves breaking the law.
Celia on the other hand kills for a living. The way she was raised has given her a view of the world where the strong survive and the weak don’t. But even as a professional assassin she has a code, a sense of honor. Her definitions of right and wrong are strong but different from most peoples’.
And, of course, what genre is the book? The story is set in a fantasy world but with a Renaissance feel, taking place entirely within a city. So not quite the epic fantasy, pastoral feel of Lord of the Rings, but not the modern gritty skyscraper feel of an urban fantasy. To add to the category confusion not only is the book fantasy, but it’s also a murder mystery, and a romance.
I never set out to write a story that defies categorization, but I seem happiest there. I completely understand that categories make talking about books easier. It makes shelving them and selling them and just about everything about them easier. And yet for me, this space in between, this not still youth/not yet adult character resonates with me as well as the gray space between good vs. evil. Not to mention, the space in between genres. I love the high adventure of fantasy, but I love structure a murder mystery gives me, and no story is complete for me without a bit of romance. And while technically you could call Ward Against Death an urban fantasy (defined as a fantasy story taking place in an urban setting) I’m not sure if urban renaissance is what people think of when they think urban fantasy.
So where does all this leave me? Exactly where I’m happiest.
I love a good, solid definition. I love understanding the parameters of genre and the nuances found within each subgenre. And I love taking those categories and finding the spaces in between. I want to explore the edges of these definitions and see in which direction I can stretch the box. Just like I want to explore that space between youth and adult and what makes good people do bad things and bad people do good things.
And where does that leave my characters, Ward and Celia? Caught in an urban renaissance, trying not-so-legal ways to figure out who killed Celia, and realizing that opposites—who might not be as opposite as they first thought—really do attract.
“Bigger than me? I’m the Dominus’ daughter.”
He looked at her with his brown eyes, and she knew she’d found her moment. She set her cup aside and knelt at his feet, clasping his hand between hers.
“You’re right. This is our first good lead and we should follow it. But it can wait a moment. We’re celebrating you. And you haven’t finished your drink.”
“That’s because you topped it up.”
She smiled and sat back on her heels. “Because I plan on getting you drunk and taking advantage of you.”
He laughed and took a long swig from his cup. “No, really, I should—”
“No.” She skimmed her hands up his thighs to his waist and leaned in, brushing her nose against his. “Really.”
He gasped and flushed. The strength of her advance was risky, but she no longer had time to play it slow. She knew he found her attractive. Now was her only opportunity.
“Celia.” His voice wavered on an uneven breath. “I…”
She ran her hands up his chest, along his neck, and cupped his jaw between her palms. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine Ward was the innocent, honest man she’d believed. Beneath her fingers, she could feel his noble heritage, the chiseled lines of his cheeks and jaw. His betrayal hurt more than she thought possible, and she pressed her lips to his before she could change her mind.
He froze, and his lips trembled under hers. It was too fast, too soon, and she eased back. But he caught the back of her head with his hand and deepened the kiss with a sudden, intense need, sending a shock of pleasure through her.
Celia gasped, caught off guard. She shouldn’t have been. When Ward decided to do something, he committed fully to it.
Have you meet Melanie Card?
Melanie has always been drawn to storytelling and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t creating a story in her head. Her early stories were adventures with fairies and dragons and sword swinging princesses.
Today she continues to spin tales of magic in lands near and far, while her cat sits on the edge of her desk and supervises. When she’s not writing, you can find her pretending to be other people with her local community theatre groups.
Thank you Melanie for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Contest Time! Melanie is giving away an ebook of Ward Against Death. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: To you prefer it when books stick to one specific genre or do you enjoy those that write in between the spaces? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
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.
The contest will stay open until September 15th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.