I have a soft spot for demons. I know, I know—sounds creepy. But I swear, I’m a perfectly nice person. I ooh and ahh at fluffy puppies. I cry during It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s just that, you know, I’m also rather attracted to dark stuff. Like Walt Whitman, I contradict myself: I contain multitudes.
In the world I’ve created for the Arcadia Bell series, some of my most moral, upstanding characters are demons. Some of my worst villains are humans. And just like real, non-fantasy-book life, you can’t pass judgements on an entire group of people. You have to get to know them as individuals.
These books, you see, are about a woman with unusual magical gifts living in a world filled with demons. And not just any old demons, but Earthbounds. To the average non-demon person—that would be YOU, lovely reader—Earthbounds look like humans, live like humans, and act like humans. They don’t have horns and tails. They aren’t devouring small kittens. They are simply descendants of human-demon hybrids.
Once upon a time, humans with magical talent—people like my heroine, Cady—knew a unique spell that shifted humanity’s path on earth. This unusual, morally suspect spell involved calling down Big Bad Scaly Demons from another plane called the Æthyr. In and of itself, this isn’t a big deal: any mage worth his or her salt has summoned a demon or two in an attempt to procure a little esoteric knowledge . . . or just to find out where their crotchety uncle hid the family fortune.
Thing is, Æthyric-summoned demons can’t live on earth for any length of time. To stick around, they need to inhabit human bodies. Enter the morally suspect spell, which allowed a mage to both remove human souls from human bodies, and also stuff the empty flesh with summoned demon souls.
Sounds like a lot of trouble, to be sure. But you’ve got to realize a few things. First, most of these mages were kind of bananas; craziness and magic are like peanut butter and chocolate. And second, most mages—like Cady—are able to control demons. So this new human-demon hybrid was the medieval version of a Robot Butler: whatever the mage wanted, the Earthbound demon did. Like most diabolical plans, this one went frequently went wrong, with Earthbounds outsmarting their makers. (The most infamous incident resulted in the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony settlement in the late 16th century, and the ritual thereafter being referred to in hushed tones as “The Roanoke Spell.”) Centuries later, they are still outsmarting humans.
Except Cady. Because she’s not your run-of-the-mill mage. She was born with the ability to see a supernatural marker on Earthbounds, so she knows which of her neighbors are human and which are demon. And where she lives, in coastal Northern California, there are a LOT of demons. Demons like her best friend, Kar Yee, who, with Cady, runs a tiki bar that caters to Earthbounds. And Lon Butler, a strong and silent, rakishly pirate-mustached Earthbound, for whom she finds herself falling. Hard. Because I suppose, like me, Cady has a soft spot for demons, too.
Would it freak you out if you discovered some of your coworkers and friends were demons in disguise?
A lot of my Earthbound demons have a unique special paranormal ability, something called a “knack.” There are Earthbounds who are telekinetic (can move objects with the mind) and empathic (can “hear” people’s emotions), and there are some who can even alter temperatures or persuade people to do things with their voice. If you could have a knack, what would it be?
My series is urban fantasy, but it has a strong romantic subplot and attracts readers from both sides of the paranormal romance/urban fantasy fence. Are there other series you like to read that blur the lines between UF and PNR?
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Learn more about Jenn Bennett below:
Read reviews of this authors work here.
website and blog: www.jennbennett.net
Read excerpts of my books here: http://www.jennbennett.net/books
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CONTEST INFO: Open to readers in the US
PRIZE: 5 copies of Summoning the Night
The Contest Entry rules have changed so read them carefully
The CONTEST portion of the event runs SIX DAYS until 11:59 pm Central on 5/6/12.
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