Clare London (clarelondon) wrote,
Clare London
clarelondon

JAN 29: knights in armour or kitchen sink drama...?

Today's visitor is the fabulous author kz_snow whose book Looking for Some Touch recently blew me away. I'm gradually reading other works by her, but this one gathered up all the things I love in a book. Vivid worldbuilding - without grinding pages of detail down my throat OR expecting me to hit the credibility ground running - sympathetic, well-rounded characters, fascinating plot, tight, lyrical, delicious prose. And did I mention the tense, provocative, HAWT m/m interaction?!



This one will remain on my Keepers Shelf. Which is actually quite small, not because we have no room in our house, virtual or otherwise *lol*, but because although I love a lot of fiction, I don't 'keep' many of them, in either my hard drive or my heart.
Can't wait for the follow-up in February!!

KZ says: I began writing prenatally. Sacred to profane to paranormal pretty much describes the range of my fiction. (I suppose it could also describe my life.) As an author for Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, Cerridwen Press, Samhain Publishing, Double Dragon Publishing, MojoCastle Press, and Changeling Press, I've given my creative impulses free rein. Like the great Willy Wonka as played by the great Gene Wilder, I do believe there is no place anywhere that compares with the worlds created and explored by the imagination.

And an impressive publishing portfolio supports that.

Find her at MySpace
and at her great blog Dreams know no Bounds.




So... today?

KZ posts about her perception of what's popular in genre fiction nowadays, and why she might feel guilty about her paranormal and fantasy themes. Is the whole thing a "Big-Assed Cheat?"



A Big-assed Cheat?

When I started writing erotic romance (initially, for Ellora’s Cave), I had my first niggling suspicion that it would be all too easy to skimp on character and conflict development in this genre. Adding paranormal or fantasy elements could make the skimping even easier. An author could get so wrapped up in her “otherworld,” or in her nonhuman sex-crazed creatures, that any psycho-emotional depth might be overlooked or simply rendered superfluous.

As I eased into m/m fiction, which I did through two male characters who insisted on being together, it was enough of a perspective shift to make me pause and take stock. Hell, the paranormal and fantasy elements were still present in my books, and suddenly they made me feel . . . guilty. (Believe me, courting guilt is not a good thing for a lapsed Catholic girl to do!)

I’ve sometimes gotten the impression that contemporary, real-world GLBT fiction is given more credence and considered more substantive and moving than the paranormal, sci fi, and fantasy offerings. Maybe I’m imagining this. Maybe the impression is accurate. In either case, it does make sense for readers to find contemporary stories more relevant. In this world, our world, people are entirely human and fallible. They’re always in danger of being tripped up by their own flaws, the asshattery of others, or a social/political/religious machinery that’s beyond their control. It’s easy for us to care about contemporary characters’ struggles, because those struggles are comprehensible. We’re all part of the mess that is 21st-century life on Earth.

In a future- or other-world, however, societal norms, sexual mores and practices, and even personal characteristics can be altered as the author sees fit. Want a civilization where all manner of human sexuality is fully accepted? ABRACADABRA! There it is. A world where HIV, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies don’t exist (and condom use is optional) because vaccines can prevent them? SHAZZAM! You’re safe. And if extraordinary endowment trips your trigger, like monster (or multiple) dicks and endurance that outlasts Bush’s vision of being a great president, you’ve got it. Moreover, life is never boring. Mystery and adventure reign. Anything is possible. Any dream can come true.

So how do authors of paranormal, fantasy, or sci fi romance (erotic or not, het or GLBT) make readers care about the characters who inhabit their special worlds, where the inflexible norms of our time and place don’t apply and characters aren’t always human? Quite a few masterful writers have managed to do it, so it certainly can be done. But how?

By proving the dream a lie. That’s how. By showing that no matter where or when a story takes place, and regardless of the types of beings who populate that story, there will always be both internal and external forces working to undermine the common good as well as personal fulfillment. There has to be a recognizable thread of humanity that strikes a sympathetic chord . . . and, even in erotic romance, that thread can’t simply be a product of sexual dynamics.

The name of my futuristic m/m urban fantasy series for Loose Id is Utopia-X. It carries the implication that any vision of perfection, even one driven by the best intentions and governed by supernatural forces, is bound to be tripped up by the unavoidable and unpredictable wrinkles of imperfection. An ideal always labors under the threat of being gobsmacked by reality. Nobility lies either in trying to keep the ideal alive or fashioning something just as fine from what might, at first, seem like dross.

The angel-demon-human hybrids at the center of my series might be called EBs or Exceptional Beings, but they hardly see themselves that way. They’re mutts, confounded at every turn by their own mixed natures and by other creatures, including pure human beings, with whom they must interact and sometimes bond. Personal evolution is an even more complex and wrenching process than species adaptation. Any intelligent creature sooner or later must face that fact.

So I keep writing in this oddball subgenre. It’s a unique challenge. Sf-f and paranormal fiction, done right, can rise above category contrivances and enter the realm of fairy tale or even parable. An escape, yes, but in its best form, an escape to rather than from reality . . . and with a lot of interesting detours!



Sez Clare: it's a subject of interest to me, having books out in both fantasy and contemporary worlds. What do YOU all think?

and quick note to KZ, yes, please,I'd LOVE to come on your blog next month to talk about Freeman, thanks for the offer! LOL


And a gratuitous pic of your cute Muse, just because MisterMuse of Mine has got some kind of crush on her...♥


-----------------------------

Follow this month with Clare (yes, it's all about the MEEEE...):

COMING SOON: charlie cochrane, marquesate.

Week 4:
Jan 23 : jaime protests the use and mis-use of labels...
Jan 24 : clare pimps the imminent release of FREEMAN...
Jan 25 : ginger simpson shares an interview with her latest fictional heroine...
Jan 26 : dakota flint confesses to the irresistible lure of research...
Jan 27 : the Blog is hijacked by my lippy Muse...
Jan 28 : clare muses on the ups and downs of getting older...



Jan 16 : jenre discusses what she loves best about m/m fiction...
Jan 17 : clare posts YouTube frippery and her brief skirmish with a recording career...
Jan 18 : report from the prestigious *cough* OTP Con UK 2009...
Jan 19 : emily chats about the principles of good reviewing...
Jan 20 : josh lanyon talks about the proper place for your green-eyed feelings...
Jan 21 : sharon offers great advice and support for all of us trying to live a healthy life...
Jan 22 : merith writes about the slow but steady epiphany of love...




Jan 09 : ravensilver describes the creativity of independent manga publishing - and the challenges...
Jan 10 : kitzheng talks about Kink...
Jan 11 : chrissy munder shares the struggles of writing, NC17 penguins and mantyhose...
Jan 12 : 1more_sickpuppy bares her soul about confessing her love for m/m fiction...
Jan 13 : erastes talks about taking that leap from fanfiction to the 'original' world...
Jan 14 : meet my Muse, the 'man' who has way too much power in my writing house...
Jan 15 : Sloane Taylor heats up those chill new year nights...




Jan 01 : the Cheeky Cherubs welcome us to 2009 with a pithy verse or two and the threat of piercings...
Jan 02 : sweet, sexy fiction from lilzazu, all about the perennially tricky problem of a sticky shift...
Jan 03 : excellent editing tips for all authors who ever wondered whether to be cruel to be kind to their prose, hosted by jolilightner...
Jan 04 : Clare pimps the fabulous I DO anthology, now available in ebook and all proceeds to Lambda...
Jan 05 : abstractrx ponders the changing role of Romance and its reflection of - or on?! - the society around it...
Jan 06 : FREE FICTION from me and my friends!
Jan 07 : Jordan Castillo Price discusses what tempts us to try out a new author...
Jan 08 : Clare rambles on about perceived plagiarism and posts excerpts of her Torquere titles...



No days left now to pimp, pose or pontificate! Join me next time I'm mad energetic enough to do this again!
Original call-up post HERE!!
Tags: authors, blog, blog month, genres, m/m world
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