posted by Nancy
Our regulars may remember Laura Anne Gilman from last fall, when she made her debut in the Lair with Flesh and Fire, the first book in the Vineart Wars. She joins us again today with a new series, and here's a brief bio.
Laura Anne started her professional life as a book editor for a major NYC house, fitting her writing into the remaining available hours. In 2004 she switched that around, becoming a full-time writer and freelance editor for Carina Press. Laura Anne is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus books for Luna (the "Retrievers" and "Paranormal Scene Investigations" urban fantasy series), and the award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy from Pocket. She is a member of the on-line writers consortium BookView Cafe, and continues to write and sell short fiction. She also writes paranormal romances as Anna Leonard.
Today, she's going to tell us about Hard Magic, the first book in the Paranormal Scene Investigations series. It's set in the world of the Cosa Nostradamus that so captivated Jeanne and me via the Retrievers series. Welcome, Laura Anne!
The title for Hard Magic, unlike most of my books, came without any problem whatsoever, and not only because the main plot is about making magic -- that ephemeral, seemingly mystical energy into a scientific tool, a "hard science." It was also because this book -- indeed, this series -- is about hard lessons.
Unlike The Wren, whom many of you met in the Retrievers series, Bonnie Torres is just starting out, a smart, eager young Talent, fresh out of college and ready to take the world on... except she has no idea what she wants to do, or who she wants to become. In other words, she's very much like most 21-year-olds, with or without magic. So when she's handed what looks like the opportunity of a lifetime -- to become part of a group that will turn magic from an excuse to behave badly into a way to track down those who behave badly, and prove their responsibility -- she falls on it with both hands...
and then discovers that every gift comes with a cost. In Bonnie's case, the cost that she is very much attracted to a man -- that, in fact, they have a connection that brings them together -- emotionally, sexually, magically.
The only problem is, he's her boss. And both of them love their job too much to risk screwing with that, quite literally. Bonnie is a passionate woman, but her passion extends to work, and justice, as much as it does her personal life. And the potential man in her life, Benjamin Venec, is exactly the same - with an added dose of caution, because he's older, and in a position of responsibility. They respect each other, and what they have as a team, too much to risk it.
So how do you balance the career chance of a lifetime, the hard knocks that come with being out in the real world, on your own, for the first time, and an overpowering urge to be with the one person you really can't be with?
In short, what I'm playing with in this book - in the entire series, actually - is the dual 'real world' problems of career vs personal life, and the romantic fantasy trope of "a destined or fated love." What happens when you tell Fate/Destiny to go to hell?
(now you begin to understand why my beta-readers often refer to me as "you evil woman")
In a romance, the reader would know the answer at the beginning. The joy (and, I admit, the evil glee) of writing romantic fantasy is that you-the-reader (and even me-the-writer) have no such assurance. The only thing we know is that Bonnie and Venec are going to have to fight it out, honestly and fairly, because that's the only way they know how to do it.
(And if any of you are starting to wonder if I was influenced at all by the Lord Peter/Harriet Vane love story... 'at's a fair cop.)
So what's your favorite story that deals realistically with "romantic" standbys like forbidden or fated love?
A copy of either Staying Dead or Hard Magic (winner's choice) will go to one commenter today.
For more information about Laura Anne Gilman and her work, visit her website, which also includes an excerpt from Hard Magic.