Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guest Post & Book Giveaway with Anna Katherine

Anna Katherine, has kindly agreed to share a guest post with us today. She’s also offered to give away a signed copy of Salt and Silver to one lucky reader who comments on this post (see below for details).


One of the most fun parts of writing a paranormal romance is figuring out just where the “paranormal” is going to come in. Traditional vampire mythology? Trip to Faerie? Zombie hordes? I want to work out what the world is like, find all the bad bits, and then make my characters deal with 'em.

To a certain extent, I'd already be doing that if I was worldbuilding any novel -- if my story's a historical set in Georgian England, I need to know what's going on with the time period and the area in order to figure out what sort of issues my characters are going to have (Answer: gambling and a lot of scatological humor. Really). Then the siren call of research would beckon me, and I’d fall headfirst into glorious first-person accounts of business transactions and gossip-filled biographies as far as the eye can see.

(Um. This may not apply to everyone.)

But with paranormals, I have a lot of choices -- make it up, or go with something established? Follow the dominant trends within the romance field, or go a different way entirely? It's a tough set of choices to make, even if I don't realize I'm making them right away -- instead, I find out around chapter 6 or so, when I suddenly need to know whether my vampires can or can't enter homes (or beds) without permission.

For my book SALT AND SILVER, I decided to mix my two loves -- solid historical research and urban fantasy. So, modern setting, a Brooklyn diner, a spoiled ex-rich kid, et cetera. All stuff I can pull from my personal mental warehouse of data. And then, from the 1890s:

If we analyse the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion.

That there's Sir James Frazer, in his book The Golden Bough: A Study of Magic and Religion, which is considered by many to be the be-all-end-all of magic research. Based on the "magic" and folklore of several cultures, he came up with the basic principles that every little bit of magic could fall under. This isn't saying a made-up word in Latin and suddenly your rabbit's a teacup -- this is how people, in this world, really think about magic.

So I sez to myself, Self, I'm setting the book in the real world anyway -- why not go all the way with it? And that's how a snippet of scene like this could come up:

“Names are . . . magic.” Ryan puts his other hand over mine. It's warm and dry and anchors me. "It's a part of you, like your blood. If a demon or a witch gets a part of you--"

I frown. "Is it contagion magic again? Like with salt?"

He nods. "It's related. Doing something to a part of you can be made the same as doing it to you. So names, true names . . . those are something you want to protect."

Awesome magic, awesomely real magic, and a nifty way to bring a little twist to what readers are used to.

On the other hand, none of this goes to explain why my vampires have wings and my werewolves have faceted eyes... but writing can't be just research, can it?

To learn more about Salt and Silver, please visit the author’s website:
http://annakatherine.com/

You can also read a review of Salt and Silver:
http://darquereviews.com/12612/117154.html

Thanks so much for that behind the scenes look at writing a paranormal romance!

Now for the giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a signed copy of Salt and Silver from Anna Katherine. The contest is open worldwide and the winner will be announced on May 12, 2009. Good luck!

Kimberly Swan, DarqueReviews.com

73 comments:

Eva S said...

I love paranormals with magic and adventures, this book sounds great! Would love to read it!

Glowstars said...

I'd love to win a copy of Salt & Silver!

Jo said...

Great guest post, and great review! Salt and Silver sounds like an awesome book! I'd love o enter the giveaway! :)

bridget3420 said...

I'd love to read this!

nightdweller20 said...

I love paranormals too! I'd like a chance pretty please!

And I also see you're reading Burning Alive. I can't wait to see your review since I read it awhile back.

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

azteclady said...

You had me at "winged vampires" :grin: (yes, the faceted-eye werewolves are icing)

Please put my name in the drawing!

Jenny said...

Sounds like a good book! I'd love to read it!

Michelle G said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for the review. :)

Michelle

Explicit Academia said...

I have to admit, I've never read a paranormal romance before, but Salt and Silver intrigues me. The fact that you're not only taking history but also the historical concepts of magic of the time, instead of making up your own, to create the rules for the story is really, well, neat!

Eric J. Krause said...

Sounds like a really good read. I pretty much love paranormals of any kind, so I'd love to win this!

Anna Katherine said...

Thanks for the comments so far, everybody! Just to address a couple:

azteclady:
Through the mysteries of the writing process, the demons became (to more or less degrees) insect-related. So our vampires have wings (and something else...), our werewolves have faceted eyes, and there are, of course, the demons of the third Hell.... Keep an eye out for our next book in this universe, though -- we're working on something dealing directly with the vampires!

Explicit Academia:
Thanks! It's sort of a yes/no situation, though. We've got a blog post coming up one of these days discussing historical magic theory and how it's applied in SALT AND SILVER -- really, while the principles are there, we do exercise some artistic license. On the other hand, we don't deviate much from the general philosophy -- for instance, that if a magic-using society hears a good idea, they're going to incorporate it whether or not it originated from their own culture. Which is how a lot of Hebrew and mathematical symbols ended up in grimoires, coincidentally -- it looks magical, it sounds magical, ergo.... If you want to see a bit more of our research/thinking on this topic, drop by our website and click on the magic link -- there'll be some choice quotes, and a further link to "Ryan's" del.icio.us research list.

astres said...

Looks like a good read!

tetewa said...

First time hearing about this one, count me in!

jenroland said...

I'm always looking for something new to read. Count me in for the contest.

Jennifer Roland

Anonymous said...

Great post I'm always on the lookout for new authors and books to read. Salt and Silver looks like a book I'd really enjoy.

delitealex

Angiegirl said...

Kimberly's review of this one intrigued me. I also love falling into new worlds and exploring a new author's take on old mythology. I'd love to be entered. Thanks!

EJG said...

sounds good. Please enter me in the contest
lucky1stuff(at)yahoo(dot)ca

ll160528 said...

Sounds like a very interesting read!

Pissenlit said...

Great guest post! Ah, I've come across this book somewhere else on the internet...the book sounds really good and I love the title!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Great guest post! The books sounds great!

I love paranormal romance and the cover art is so sweet!

Please enter me!

Dottie :)

gymmom_027@yahoo.com

devonellington said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this. And it's always fascinating and fun to learn about my colleagues' processes!

Best of luck with the release, it sounds great!

Janicu said...

oo, I've had my eye on this one for a while and plan to get my hands on it soon. I'd love to win a copy.

juliet k said...

Looks like a book I'd enjoy. modern paranormal romance. perfect.

L.L. said...

Learning about the writer's world is what can make any given story an exceptionally good read.

Great post!

Karen W. said...

I don't need to be entered in the drawing because I already bought my copy of SALT & SLIVER! I can't wait to read it, Katherine! It sounds great!

Stacia said...

This book looks right up my alley. Great posting & thanks for introducing me to a new author. Please enter me into this fantastic giveaway. I'd love the opportunity to win.

staciahelpman (at) hotmail (dot) com

donnas said...

Interesting post. I love the idea of your story and would love to win a copy.

Thanks!

bacchus76 at myself dot com

I Heart Book Gossip said...

This book sounds great. Please count me in.

RachieG said...

Love paranormals and this one sounds fun. Please count me in!

Lyoness2009 said...

This book looks brilliant! Would love to have a chance to win it....crossin' my fingers!

lyoness2009 @ hotmail.com

Valorie said...

I have always loved paranormal, but have only recently been getting into paranormal romance. I'd love a chance to win!


Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Lori T said...

I would love to be entered to win a copy of Salt & Silver. It sounds really good and I love paranormals.

Great post.

buddyt said...

Vampires and werewolves and similar certainly seem to have grown in popularity over the past year or so.

I am finding that this is getting a bit too much with not much originality in some authors writing.

This sounds like a book that may be better so please enter me in the giveaway.
Thank you

danetteb said...

I'm curious about your winged vampires. I watched Van Helsing the other night and the wing vamps were pretty scary, until they changed back into beautiful vampire brides :)

Hugs, Danette

Llehn said...

Salt & Silver sounds AWESOME!

Hege said...

I'd love to read this!

hege-svendsen at c2i dot net

Anonymous said...

love paranormals, im a older reader and boy it used to be hard getting paranormals, 10 + yrs ago


gypsywitch36@yahoo.com

Rhiannon Hart said...

This sounds great!--please enter me in the contest, and best of luck with it.

LadyVampire2u said...

I'd love to win this book. It sounds fab and I love the post.

LadyVampire2u(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Amelia said...

Oooh this sounds like a great book! I'm excited to read this one.

KeVin K. said...

As a general rule I tend to have trouble with romances about, well, romance between a vampire and a human. Same with werewolves. I mean, would you be enthralled by the story about a man hopelessly in love with a chicken? The very idea of vampire/human sex takes "playing with your food" to a whole new level.

On the other hand, I like a good mythology. And a system of magic solidly based on internally consistent "laws." And world building. And worlds built by blending mythologies and magics and (what's generally accepted as) reality.
From the insight into your writing processes you've given us here, I'm thinking you enjoy those elements as much as I.

All of which means Salt and Silver sounds like my kind of book.
(Which means if I don't win it I'll have to go buy it. Which means a few more meatless pasta dinners.)

morbidloren said...

A book with actual, researched magic? How fun is that!

Becky said...

Great guest post. I love reading paranormal romances. Salt and Silver sounds like good book and I would love to read it.

Anna Katherine said...

Wow, thanks for coming in, folks! Here are a couple more comments directed to specific people:

buddyt:
I hear you on the upswing of vampire/werewolf popularity, but there's been a lot of interest for years, really (even ignoring the Twilight series and, further back, the Anne Rice stuff, there's a lot to be said for such classics as Dracula, Le Fanu's Carmilla, and Varney the Vampire: Or, The Feast of Blood, all of which star some sort of romantic or pseudo-romantic vampire). I think one of the big problems coming up now is that authors are trying to find ways to make vampires even more sexy than previous incarnations. Fortunately, SALT AND SILVER isn't a vampire romance -- vamps are really just another beastie at this juncture. The next book set in the universe, though, will have vampires, and the worldbuilding for that is getting... interesting.

danetteb:
I'd forgotten about the wings in Dracula! Wings (of the bat variety) aren't exactly new on the scene -- it was a visual that popped up a couple times in the Victorian era. The wings of the vampires in SALT AND SILVER actually came about with the "insect"ing of the demons -- take a gander at what butterflies eat other than nectar (particularly in rainforest regions), and you'll get an idea of where we went with this.

KeVinK.:
Never fear -- in this first novel, there are no vampire/human fun-times. In fact, we go rather a long ways to try and make vampires seem really... not that desirable. (Which we're now dealing with as we work on our next book, which is a vamp/human romance. We like a challenge.)

I hear you on the problems involved in a predator/prey romantic relationship, though -- per (particularly the Victorian) fiction and folklore of Western culture, it's definitely something that happens, but it doesn't end well. Le Fanu's Carmilla is, I think, a good example of a vampire story where even the vampire is confused about the romantic aspects of it all, but the story works because of the pathology of the monster (vamp loves the human, really loves the human, she could just eat her up, and then they'd be together forever). In straight-up folklore, though, while there can be a sexual edge to whatever's going on, mostly vampires are just representatives of the Unacceptable Other (for instance, in Mediterranean regions people with red hair are or could become vampires. And let's not even talk about Bulgarian vampires -- the one-nostril thing? Yeah, I'd stake one of those in a heartbeat).

Regarding the magical worldbuilding: Man, I have really got to get that blog post up about the use of historical magic in SALT AND SILVER. Much like real life, our characters are, to a certain extent, making it up as they go along. They're doing it based on things they know have worked in the past, or what they think seems like a good idea, but such is the nature of things. The underlying philosophy of real magic, though, is definitely present.

morbidloren:
Ha! Someday I will shoehorn the 8th Book of Moses (from The Greek Magical Papyri) into the action-adventure climax of a book, and then all shall tremble and weep. From the sheer awesomeness.

Brooke Reviews said...

This sounds really cool, love the cover by the way :D

Suzanne McLeod said...

Loved the excerpt, thank you :-)
Suzanne xx

Mishel said...

I love any kind of twist authors like to put on their writing. Your excerpts are fabulous and definitely make me want your book even more!

E. Hartshorn said...

Love the use of the two Laws per Golden Bough, and the snippet's an excellent bit of showing. Very nice!

Soul Trekking said...

I'm very familiar with The Golden Bough - such a wealth of information, and also of ideas. The book looks great, and I'd love to read it!

Nadia said...

I adore the cover and so want to read it based on your post. :)

Tanya said...

I'm hooked...would love to read this book.`:)

Paige said...

"Doing something to a part of you can be made the same as doing it to you." --
Loved that. Sounds like a terrific book!

babygirlG said...

This book sounds like something right up my alley! Please enter me! Thanks!

Silent Raven said...

That's just my kind of book. I'd love to read it.

S.M.D. said...

Oh oh oh! *raises hand* I want to be entered. Pretty please!

Thanks!

Blodeuedd said...

wohoo, I totally wanna win this :)
Really need more paranormal, I am starved

Heather C said...

Sounds like an awesome book!!!

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I have been hearing some great things about this book! Awesome cover also :D

Erica said...

I don't mind what kind of vampires they are. I just like the idea of having a doorway to hell in a diner. Explains a lot of bad food :)

Sounds very cool.

Deborah said...

World building is a lot of the fun. Creating a place where you can go to escape the rules of the here and now. If you want to meet and play with a vampire, the best place is in the world you build. You can have all the fun and chills you want. That's where the thrills live.

Belinda M said...

I would love to win a copy of this. Please enter me in the giveaway

"Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
CoolCanucks.ca"

Renee G said...

I would love to read this. It's so different from what I usually read.

rsgrandinetti(at)Yahoo(dot)com

Kytaira said...

Sounds like a great book! I love learning more about why an author writes the way they do.

I have to agree with the Law of Similarity. You attract what you project. And you start to project what you are surrounded by. I know in the past when I was surrounded by critical people (on a forum), I felt more critical. It took my computer breaking to realize what was happening. I've never posted on that forum again.

Thanks for the interview!

Anonymous said...

Paranormal is interesting, and creative, (hey beats the normal)this sounds like my kind of book, i would so love to spend hour upon hour reading it.
vampires, werewolves, witches and other abnormal fantasy ceratures are what i like to read, and this book sounds absolutly entertaining, can't wait to read!

angel666 said...

paranormal is my normal.
vamps, weres, witches and other abnormal fantasy creatures are what i like to read.
can't wait to get this book!!!

sundcarrie said...

I would love to read and review this book! I am a paranormal book addict. Vampires are my drug of choice.

Cybercliper said...

Magic, vamps, weres...sounds like the start of a wonderful new series! I look forwarding to reading it!!!

Tanya said...

Kimberly

I just read your Q&A on vampirewire very...informative.

I just saw this title rise up on a few blogs and immediately I was intrigued just by the title..

Kindly submit me for this fab. prize

Tanya said...

Thx Anna for providing this great giveaway..

Anonymous said...

woulod love to be entered
gypsywitch36@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It's great to see SALT AND SILVER published! Just a quick question: is it paranormal romance, or urban fantasy? The two intersect, and I read and buy both for the library, but the reviews confused me ...

LynneW

Kimberly Swan said...

LynneW - Honestly, I think it's whatever your definition is for each. It's urban fantasy because it's a contemporary fantasy that takes place in an urban setting, but it's paranormal romance as well because of the vampires, werewolves, etc. and the element of romance.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the cover it really brings people's attention. I would love to read this book. :)