A Tale of Two Genres, by Ann Aguirre
One reader (credit to Bev/QB) coined a term for the Jax series: futuristic urban fantasy. I think it’s particularly apropos. If you had asked me before this all started whether I would ever write SF, I’d have said no. Seriously. I always wanted to write fantasy. Epic fantasy (which I have done), urban fantasy, you name it.
So how did my first sale wind up being SF? My story: let me tell you it.
Jax came full-fledged from a hole in my heart and she drove me to write about her. I didn’t think about genre. People have asked, why present tense? Well, because it’s Jax’s tale, told in her voice—and in her opinion, it’s not done yet.
Others have commented that my books seem like I’ve watched more movies and TV shows than I’ve read SF novels. I cop to that. I’m all about the character development, and for me, it’s been harder to find character-driven SF. Characters always feature prominently in the visual arts. I don’t think this background impacts my work negatively, however; a new approach is never bad. The genre is big enough to withstand concept books, tech-based books, novels about first-contact, and others about generation ships. I know most of the tropes, but I don’t have the technical expertise (or interest) to write any SF other than what I do.
At base, my Jax books are about a girl, who ran away from home to see the stars. She wanted to be more than an ornament. She wanted the whole universe instead of one man. She has a thread of chaos in her veins, and she carries disorder wherever she goes. But not all change is bad. Not everything can or should be quantified. She faces tough choices and heartbreak, and she grows along her journey. The bottom line is: if the reader cares about Jax, then my books will work for him or her.
People have asked me whether I gave SF an urban fantasy twist on purpose. Well, yes. I wanted to give SF the kind of spin that makes UF so popular. I confess, I’ve wanted to write UF ever since I first read Charles de Lint. When I discovered Simon Green, I was in heaven. My awe went up another notch when I found Jim Butcher.
So I was thrilled when I sold the Corine Solomon series. It grew out of my desire to incorporate what I’ve learned, living in Mexico. First off: people are more accepting of the supernatural here, and it runs in an odd lockstep with Catholicism. It’s not an either / or scenario, as it more often seems to be in the States.
You see, we took a trip to Puebla a few years back, and alongside the road, I saw a sign advertising a brujo. He listed his services, including hexes, removal of same, blessings, cleansings. It was an average neighborhood, too, nothing mystical about it.
That got me thinking about the what-if, which is the magic behind every book. What if magic was real? What if witches and warlocks could cast spells and they worked? What if curses were real? I did a fair amount of research on the subject before I started writing. I decided straightaway that I had nothing new to say about weres, vampires or fairies, so you won’t find any in my UF. Instead, I focus on the human (humans who can cast spells and gifted humans with extraordinary abilities), plus the powers above and below. Yes, angels and demons. There are also dark creatures, mostly summoned or created with spells: shades, demons, zombies, ghosts. Good times.
As for Corine, the heroine, well, I can best describe her by quoting a reader who already devoured her ARC:
“That’s when it hit me: not only did Corine’s thoughts and fears remind me of real life conversations, everything from those issues to the description of her looks, down to what she wore…
Aguirre managed to create a character who really could be one of us. Her power isn’t so bizarrely out there. I attended an intuition workshop that included psychometry. Each participant handled objects much like Corine does—granted, with far less success and none of the price our heroine has to pay. She’s kick ass without being able to kick everybody’s ass; in a combat situation, she’s better armed with a cell phone ready to call 911 than with a gun, but she’s no damsel in distress waiting for the big strong men to come rescue her.”
So dear readers, tell me what appeals to you about the series I’ve described above, and you could win a copy.
Here are the basic rules to win a copy of Ann Aguirre’s newest release Blue Diablo:
1) winner will be selected within 24hrs of this post (midnight March 27),
2) winner will be contacted via email by “Azteclady,” therefore a valid email address must be provided below for the comment to be entered in the giveaway.