• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Why Do I Write Urban Fantasy? by Devon Monk

Devon's first book

Using magic meant it used you back ...

I didn’t know I was writing an urban fantasy when I wrote Magic to the Bone. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When I emailed the completed book to my agent, my note went something like this:

Me: “Uh, here’s the book with that kick-ass woman lead character I was talking about. There’s magic in it, but it’s not sweet and fluffy, and there’s humor, but it’s not rollicking slapstick, and it’s set in a modern city. Also, there’s a mystery. And death. It’s got a couple chase scenes too. Oh, and there’s this hot mysterious stranger who causes some trouble. Not sure if it’s urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, or something else.”

Agent: “It’s urban fantasy.”

Me: “Really? Are you sure?”

Agent: “Yes. And I stayed up all night reading it because I couldn’t put it down.”

While I trusted her insight on how to classify the book (and was thrilled it kept her up late reading), I realized I had just entered a genre I knew very little–okay, nothing–about. Over the years I’ve had a lot of short stories published, but most were fantasy, not urban fantasy.

So I began reading more urban fantasies, paranormal romance and paranormal mysteries. I started noticing and appreciating the differences between the genres, and better yet, really enjoying the stories. Even though I grew up on fairy tales, epic fantasy, and science fiction, I realized I had stumbled into a genre that is just as rich in story telling, action, fun, and magic.

Writing urban fantasy lets me imagine what it would be like if the things that go bump in the night were on the bus with me, or were my neighbors, or liked to hang out and have a beer.

Writing urban fantasy has its share of challenges. You can’t just have a troll rampage through the city streets without someone noticing–unless you explain why no one notices, or better yet, let people notice and then complain about the problems troll-rampages always cause during rush hour. But even with the challenges, I love writing urban fantasy. I love pushing the paranormal and normal together and watching the sparks fly. I love asking, “what if this outrageous thing could really happen? What would we do?”

Urban fantasy is a rich and exciting genre with roots not only in fantasy, but also in mystery and noir crime novels. With a lot of hard work, and a little luck, I hope to be writing urban fantasy for a long, long time.

Magic to the Bone is now available across Australia!  Devon Monk will be blogging a bit more for us in the next week. Devon is also taking part in the Deadline Dames website, so make sure you check it out. And if you loved Magic to the Bone, or enjoy urban fantasy, let us know by leaving a comment!

6 Responses

  1. Thanks Devon, for these insights.

    I’m very interested in genre labels–paranormal romance, urban fantasy . . .I can see there is some overlap.

    Using film as an example, would works such as Constantine and Underworld be urban fantasy? I can see elements of the supernatural and paranormal in both, but the feel is ‘dark urban’.

    I’m looking forward to reading Magic to the Bone!
    🙂 Kim

    • Hi Kim,

      Um….I haven’t seen those films. (Yes, I am a loser, lol! )

      I guess one way that I define the difference between the two genres, is paranormal romance gets its roots from romance. It is *mostly* focused on the relationship, on the love story. And there is some element of the paranormal that helps/hinders that relationship. A happily-ever-after ending, or the promise of one is almost always present.

      Urban fantasy gets its roots from mystery/noir/hardboiled detective stories (which is why they are so often told in first person with a gritty, sarcastic narrator). It is *mostly* focused on the mystery. And there is some element of the paranormal that helps/hinders solving that mystery. A happily-ever-after ending is not always promised, nor present.

      Does that make sense?

      • Hi Devon,

        Good explanation, thank you. It makes sense to see the ‘roots’ of the genre, or sub-genre, to give its defining elements.

        Neither Constantine nor Underworld are focused mostly on ‘the relationship’ but If we took the relationship out of either case the story wouldn’t be the same. I agree blurring genre boundaries allows for a wider creative field, yet it seems publishers and bookstore owners need to label the story so it can go on the ‘right’ shelf–something literary fiction doesn’t contend with.

        I wonder if it means there will be more and more sub-genre classifications?

        Thanks for posting!

        🙂 Kim

  2. Underworld would definitely be urban fantasy, I think, it’s modern and dark, but I feel like Constantine was something else, more about the struggle between heaven and hell, with gothic overtones. I love good urban fantasy for the reason you describe above, Devon, “Writing urban fantasy lets me imagine what it would be like if the things that go bump in the night were on the bus with me, or were my neighbors, or liked to hang out and have a beer.”
    It seems like something that is really close to our world, and it wouldn’t take much for it to really happen. I guess that’s also why shows like Buffy and Supernatural have been so popular – they blur that distinction between here and there …

  3. Hi Sapphire!

    I like blurry distinctions too!



  4. Devon
    I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Magic to the Bone and cannot wait for Magic in the Blood, as are the many fans you have in Wa that are enjoying Allie Beckstrom. My sister-in-law Mae would also like you to know that she cannot wait for the next book in May and loves Allie too.
    One of your many fans

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