PURE magic (plus an excerpt!)
I’m going to take some time out from cat pics and demons and talk about my new novel, Pure. It’s a paranormal romance, so let’s take a look at the ‘para’ part. Where does the magic come from? All over.
I was a huge fan of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Gothic Vampire series, and a slightly less huge fan of True Blood. (Naked Skarsgard made up for a lot, though.)
And I’m going to miss Grimm when the final season wraps up in a few weeks.(I can’t believe I watched every episode. I can only stand back and be humbled by the number of reasons the writers came up with to get Captain Renard out of his shirt. Thank you, good scribes.)
I was interested in writing about a world in which fairy tale creatures were ‘out.’ Part of the fun of this book was thumbing through bestiaries from around the world and deciding which mythological creatures would show up to give Ruby, my heroine, a hard time. In Pure, you’ll meet creatures from Japan, Northern Europe, Greece, and some home grown American talent, too.
The human population refers to their magical neighbors as ‘xenos’, which means ‘stranger.’ Of course, xenophobia is not a new concept, and honestly if I had vampires living next door I’d be mighty nervous and rightly so. (And invest in a lot of garlic.) But I really wondered what that would mean for regular humans. I mean, we have a long history of actively not liking each other. Would we resent creatures who were more beautiful and powerful? Would we be more willing to live alongside the pretty or charming ones like fairies and elves?
Would you want to sit next to a manticore at the diner?
And would humans treat the xenos like gods, or servants? I guess like in life, it’s a little of both.
Here’s the opening chapter of Pure.
The unicorn walked right past me.
Maybe it didn’t notice me because I was standing behind my car. I know, a Mini Cooper isn’t that big, and I was just standing there with my key in my hand and my mouth hanging open. But it didn’t look my way; it just kept walking up the middle of Kenyon Street like it was an enchanted grove or something. It was getting close to 4:30 in the morning, so there wasn’t any traffic, just some late night drinkers looking for Ubers, and me, getting off my bartending shift at the Hare. I had to park two blocks away as usual, and I just stood there, watching as it went by. At the moment I was alone on the street, so no one else saw it. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t even think to take a picture.
When it was about a half a block ahead of me, I quietly stashed my purse under my car, hunched over and followed it, hiding myself on the other side of the line of parked cars. I didn’t want to startle it, I guess. I looked up the street, and saw where it was going. Another block up, lit up by a streetlight, a girl stood in the middle of the road. She was slight, wearing skinny jeans and a gauzy blouse, and she looked young. She had a lot of blonde hair, and she had her hand held out, and the unicorn went straight to her. It stood in front of her and lowered its gorgeous head, and she laid her hand on its nose. Neither one of them noticed me, and I felt like I was looking at something private, something I ought not to be seeing. The unicorn, in case you’ve never seen one (which is actually pretty likely) wasn’t anything like a white horse. I mean, it was horse shaped, in that Jon Hamm is monkey shaped, but you’d never mistake one for the other. It wasn’t even white. It was silver, or mother of pearl. Its nose and feet were darker silver, and it was surrounded by rainbows shimmering off its body like they do over water sometimes. It did have a horn, though, and that was made of light. It was too bright to look at.
After a minute of the girl and the unicorn looking at each other, and me looking at them, three men in black clothes came out from the shadows between the cars. One had a rope. One had some sort of industrial looking oven mitts; elbow length ones, like glassblowers use. When I saw what else he had, I thought I was going to throw up. He had a hacksaw. The unicorn saw them, too, and it began to shiver. But it looked like the stories were true the ones about unicorns and purity. I guessed right away the girl was a virgin, I remembered the story from those tapestries—you can still seem them, I think they’re hanging in a museum in New York. That’s how you’re supposed to be able to catch a unicorn—get a virgin to snare it. As long as the girl was touching it, it couldn’t move to save itself other than shift from side to side and stamp its feet. Two of them went to its head, and the guy with the gauntlets pulled the horn down far enough for the guy with the rope to get a loop around it. The other went to its side and put his hands on it, I guess to make it stop moving around. Black smoke blotted out the rainbows, and it began to make a noise that if I’m super lucky I’ll never hear again. The guy slapped its smoking side and laughed. That guy had his back to me.
So I made a decision that honestly, I knew was pretty stupid, but wouldn’t you have done the same? Wouldn’t anyone?