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Urban Fantasy Roundtable

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The authors of Under an Enchanted Skyline box set ($0.99, available only until Dec 31st), participated in an urban fantasy roundtable.

Most Urban Fantasy stories focus on magical creatures and entities. Even so, ordinary people still play important roles within the story line. Do these “normals” have much of an impact in your story…and if so, in what ways?


Erik Scott de Bie: As a superhero adventure, Eye for an Eye is a bit of a black sheep: it features exactly one character with magical abilities—Lady Vengeance. In addition to her high-tech hero opposite, Stardust, the story features a series of mundane characters, including The Raven, who is the tech-based vigilante you’d get if you combined Iron Man and Batman, and Elizabeth Stevens, Stardust’s non-superhero wife, tech company tycoon, and the smartest person in the whole novella.

Phoebe Matthews: Always. It is the normals who have to solve the problems created by magic and by paranormals. Sorry, no superheroes here.

Django Wexler: Yes, definitely. Again, a common UF trope is that the protagonist is in some way special, somewhere between the monsters and the normals so he or she can serve as a guide to the fantastic for the readers. In the John Golden stories, this is literally true, since John’s only real power is to transport himself to the fairy burrows and back again. But since fairy burrows run on real-world computer systems, he has to deal with the “normals" who build and maintain them – system administrators, executives, users, and so on. He’s more or less an exterminator, since fairies are a nuisance!

Janine A. Southard: As the collection’s compiler, I don’t have a story in this boxed set. I have, however, had the chance to read them all. Each author in this bundle blends fantasy characters into the normal world, or vice versa. There couldn’t be a super-natural adventure without a familiar jumping off point. In some cases the protagonists are as magical as magical can be, making their way in our normal world. In others, simply touching the magical world transforms a normal person’s experience.

Cedar Blake: Well, Luke and Chalice provide the impetus for Rachel’s “transition,” and Rachel’s rotten manager Margie supplies the push that gets her going. Her pal Ashli (inspired by a real-life friend of mine back when I lived in the Bay Area) adds an essential (in)sanity check for Rachel, and Kim the Yoga Girl acts as sort of a benevolent archon figure, watching over the point of transition and providing a small yet significant test as the hero steps from one threshold to another. So yeah – Rachel’s story could not exist without these key figures. “Normal” or otherwise, they provide foundations and activities that make everything else possible.

Jennifer Brozek: Absolutely. The mundane people in a story become the “everyman” characters that the Reader can identify with. They are the normal people who have to face extraordinary circumstances. Many characters in my UF series are normal people just trying to get by as they are affected by the supernatural events going on around them. Many times, they show that the normal person can be just as effective as the supernatural creature.

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Other questions and their roundtable answers are with: Phil, Erik, Phoebe, Doug, and Janine. This was a great roundtable. And I hope you all enjoyed it.