Meandering In A New Direction
An essay for the Roc webpage, written in February 2013
Meg Corbyn and I have something in common: We see in images.
Let me show you how the Others and their world came into being.
Image, sometime in the past decade: A solid block of buildings on a downtown street. Suddenly there is a gap and a wrought-iron gate that reveals a grassy courtyard. Thought: Who lives in those buildings hidden away from all the people walking past that gate? What secrets live behind ordinary facades?
Thought after reading some urban fantasy novels, circa 2006-2007: I’d like to write a story about werewolves and vampires someday.
Image, circa 2006, cemetery in Virginia: family plots defined by fences. Thought: Do the fences keep something out or keep something in? Who lives in those underground chambers?
Thought, circa 2007, after talking with some other women about teenage girls who cut themselves: What if a girl saw a vision of the future when she cut herself?
Thought: I’d like to write a story about werewolves and vampires someday.
2007: I have an idea for a light and fluffy urban fantasy story. My interest holds for about the 30 minutes or so it takes to write a few paragraphs and realize the idea had played itself out. But something remains: the name Simon Wolfgard.
Thought, circa 2008: I’d like to write a story about werewolves and vampires someday.
Image, circa 2009, in Victoria, British Columbia: A market square with boutique shops and an interior space that has a platform for live music as well as benches and tables where people can sit. Thought: The Others (whoever they are) would like a place like this in their Courtyard (whatever that is).
Image, circa 2010, driving around Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. Thought: The Others (whoever they are) would like it here.
Thought, circa 2010: What if the werewolves and the vampires and the other supernaturals didn’t start out human? What if they sprang from a different evolutionary tree, one that gave them the ability to mimic other predators and absorb the qualities that enhanced their success in bringing down prey? What if they have been the dominant predators since before the time of the dinosaurs, earth natives who change with the world and the creatures living in it so they remain the dominant predators? What if they control most of the world? What if humans are a minority species who are dependent on the tolerance of the Others for their survival?
There is always that one thought, that one moment, that acts like a magnet, pulling together random images and ideas and giving me the first catch-my-breath vision of a world and characters and story.
A re-imagined Earth with predators who, for the most part, view humans as just another prey animal. Contemporary human cities with hitches and quirks in the available technology because people have to work with the resources they can get. Courtyards, the park-like areas residences of the earth natives assigned to keep watch on human cities. And girls who see prophecies when their skin is cut.
What happens when the wants and needs of earth natives, humans, and blood prophets collide?
The answer is written in red.