Hello fellow bookworms, I’m pleased to welcome Elizabeth Corrigan for a special guest post.
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Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise
enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve.
Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul
to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.
Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of
others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to
In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the
demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how
much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.
Writing Urban Fantasy
From the early days of the urban fantasy genre I knew I wanted to write one. At the time I planned on a supernatural detective story, and “writing” more meant making stuff up in my head and hoping that it would magically transcribe itself onto paper. Since then I’ve read a lot more urban fantasy and combined my ideas with the patience and dedication to finish my debut novel. Though Oracle of Philadelphia isn’t the whodunit I had planned—and I still plan to write that someday—I don’t think I could imagine writing anything other than urban fantasy.
The genre fascinates me, because it gives the impression that something fantastical could be just outside our reach. Maybe there are a whole horde of vampires planning to “come out of the coffin” and join society as undead Americans. Maybe if I get off at the wrong subway station, I could find myself in a hidden part of the city where monsters are real. Maybe for the few hours while I read an urban fantasy I can believe that the world is a little bit more magical than my mundane life would indicate.
An author might use the power of remaking the real world however she wants to create a kind of paradise, but more often the reverse happens. Urban fantasy, like other types of fantasy and science fiction, offer a way to present social or moral issues in an indirect way. When vampires have to fight for equal rights, their struggles mimic those of real world groups who face discrimination. The seedy magical underbelly of a city can represent the parts of society we would rather pretend don’t exist.
In Oracle of Philadelphia, I present the world’s morality, except that the laws of good and evil are enforced by a group of angels and demons who interact with humanity. There is a demon for each of the seven deadly sins, and they offer an easy avenue for earthly prosperity, provided the human in question is willing to sacrifice his or her soul. The angels, on the other hand, offer no such deal, and their influence is often difficult to see.
But just because I can manipulate the world as I see fit doesn’t mean I don’t have limitations. In a traditional fantasy novel, the author doesn’t really have to worry about getting names and places correct, but he or she does need to have an internally consistent magical system and sociopolitical structure. In a non-fantasy, the author can pretty much expect the laws of physics to take care of a lot, but he or she has to research plenty of stuff in the real world. But in urban fantasy, the author has to do both. I have to deal with calls from my sister explaining to me that they don’t use euros in Switzerland and that the buses in Philadelphia are called SEPTA. Then I get notes from my editor saying that my heroine shouldn’t be able to telepathically read the souls and the demons in Hell.
So as a genre, urban fantasy is not perfect. But it’s the genre I choose to write in, and it is a lot of fun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she's not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters. She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car
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