Wednesday, April 15, 2015

[link] Charlaine Harris on blending genres

Over on the Gollancz site, Charlaine Harris offers a few characteristically charming observations on how to blend fantasy and mystery. Listen up, folks. She knows whereof she speaks. It's a short article, full of humor and wisdom.

My favorite bit:

I think it’s also a good idea to make sure the reader knows that being a supernatural creature of any sort does not mean you can live a life without problems. There are always bills to pay of one sort or another, groceries to shop for (even if you shop in a bar or cemetery), and taxes to pay. Yes, always taxes. You can’t swan around in a velvet cape looking mysterious and swoony. The electric bill must be covered, and the telephone bill, too.

I must have been channeling Harris when I wrote "Survival Skills" (Sisters of the Night) back in the mid '90s. Barbara Hambly had taken on the editing of an anthology of female vampire stories and, being much involved in my younger daughter's elementary school PTA, I wondered what it would take for a mother vampire to raise two kids in Los Angeles, where I lived at the time. My vampire's problems didn't involve paying taxes, but did center around managing all the ways our governmental structures look over your shoulder when you are a parent. It was easy enough to imagine a night school for families whose adults worked night shifts in the movie industry, but what about truant officers, PTA fund raisers, school lunches and sports ("don't play with your food"), and translating the skills learned from centuries of dealing with paper-based bureaucracies into computer-based hacking?

"Survival Skills" will appear in my upcoming collection, Transfusion and Other Tales of Hope, from Book View Cafe later this month. Stay tuned for the official announcement.

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