Wednesday, 9 May 2012

May's Books of the Month - a feast of Monk

This post should really be author of the month, as we’ve got not one, not two but THREE novels by Devon Monk out tomorrow – Magic in theShadows, Magic on the Storm and Magic Without Mercy.

And here’s author Devon Monk to tell us all about her inspiration for her brilliant Allie Beckstrom series.

You know that saying: good things come in small packages? When it came to writing my first urban fantasy novel, that proved to be true. Magic to the Bone, the first in the Allie Beckstrom series, started out as a quick short story with this basic idea: what if magic were real and everybody could use it, but when we used magic, we had to pay a price for it? The price? Pain.

I had been writing short stories for years and saw an anthology looking for tales set in the modern day with a combination of magic and business. My magic-for-a-price story seemed a perfect fit for them. So I got to work on it. 

Magic for pain was such an interesting concept to explore. If we could all use magic and I mean today, right here, right now, what would we be willing to pay for it? Would we endure a headache to make ourselves look ten years younger or ten pounds thinner? Would we suffer a fever or flu so we could ace that important test or land that job? Would we endure a lifetime of agony to save a dying child or delay a loved-one’s disease?

I wondered if we might even accept losing pieces of our memories for our magic fix. One thing I knew for sure – someone would find a way around having to pay for the magic they were using. Someone would figure out how to make other people pay for them. 

All of a sudden my small package was much too small to hold the story I really wanted to tell. Nonetheless, I wrote the story of Allie Beckstrom who Hounds for a living and traces back illegal spells to their casters. She has lost a lot of her memories doing her job. But when her rich father who disowned her ends up implicated in a magical crime, Allie’s world goes from dangerous to deadly.

I was pleased with the story even though there were characters with secrets and questions of their own I couldn’t explore. That was okay. I still had a nice tight mystery set in an alternate magical today. I sent the story off to the editor.

You know that other saying: when one door closes, another opens? Well, my short story did not sell to the anthology. I was thrilled about the rejection. Now I could use the length of a novel (or three, or nine) to explore the concept of magic being real and at our fingertips. Now I could unveil the story of the mysterious Zayvion Jones who seems to know more about magic than anyone should. Now I could uncover the shady magic business Allie’s father has been engaged in over the years. A magic business that takes straight aim at Allie’s life. And pulls the trigger.


Other books in the Allie Beckstrom series:

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