Fangtastic Friday Welcomes Laura Bickle
EtS is pleased to welcome urban fantasy author Laura Bickle today.
Laura, I’m intrigued by your blogspot and the first book in your series, Embers, which debuted in April from Pocket-Juno Books. Okay, here come the questions.
1. Your blog focuses on salamanders. What’s the fascination?
When I was a child, I spent time wading barefoot into clear streams and turning over rocks in search of salamanders.
From a mythological perspective, salamanders were deemed by philosophers like Paracelsus to be elementals of fire. Humans would occasionally see them crawling out of logs tossed into fires. Though the salamander was probably pissed at having his house picked up out of the woods and incinerated in a cooking fire, humans thought that the salamander was some magical creature scuttling out of their hearths. And they’re partially right.
From a biological perspective, they’re utterly amazing. In Dr. Paul Pietsch’s book, SHUFFLEBRAIN, he described how a salamander named Punky and his kin survived amazing experiments dealing with holographic memory. Punky the salamander existed with the transplanted brain of a frog. Other salamanders like Punky went about their business without brains or with brains plucked out and installed in their tails. Salamanders have amazing capabilities of regeneration and neural adaptability, and they’re the closest thing I’ve ever seen to magic in the natural world.
2. I loved your blog post about the sloth orphanage. I wrote a story about the sin of sloth, entitled “Three-toed Annie” after the creature of the same toe-ship, so I love sloths, too. Are you quitting your day job to work in the sloth orphanage?
Ah, I WISH I could quit the day job to work in a sloth orphanage! Alas, there are no sloth orphanages nearby.
Besides which, the feral cats already have my number. Any stray cat within a five mile radius is instantly drawn to me. They know that I’m a soft touch and crazy-cat-lady in the making.
3. Urban fantasy seems to have the edge over paranormal romance these days. Why do you suppose that is?
Hmmm. My first reaction would be that the pendulum may be simply swinging in terms of taste. Maybe readers are feeling more optimistic or pessimistic or…
But, in thinking more about it…In urban fantasy, romance takes a backseat, and no happy ending for the hero and heroine is guaranteed. For a long time, UF and paranormal romance were easily confused in terms of shelving and covers. It’s a huge letdown for a reader who wanted a happy romantic ending to pick up some UF, and for someone who wanted a dark gritty story to be frustrated with a paranormal romance.
But I think that books that are UF are now being marketed as such more often, and are not being confused with Paranormal Romance as frequently. Clarity is good. That way, readers can more easily get to the stories they want to read with less confusion. There’s a good deal of overlap in audiences, to be sure. Any given reader may want PR one day and UF next week – I know that my own tastes fluctuate by the week. But it’s only fair to let the reader know what they’re getting.
4. Tell us about Embers, the first book in your new series.
Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern. Where other mediums see spirits, she devours and incinerates them. Anya has a double life: she spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. She’s part of two worlds, but not fully accepted in either. Anya suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon an ancient dragon that will burn the city to cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya–with the help of the ghost hunters and her fire salamander familiar, Sparky–can stop it. More info is here: www.salamanderstales.com
And now, just for fun.
5. If you could be the personal assistant to any literary character, who would it be and why?
Hmm. If I was feeling particularly bold… Scheherazade. I’d love to listen to her stories for a thousand and one nights. I would have loved to be her scribe. Probably would have resulted in one heckuva case of writer’s cramp, but it would be worth it.