Devon Monk, author of the popular Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series which includes Magic to the Bone (2008), Magic in the Blood (May 2009), Magic in the Shadows (November 2009) and the forthcoming Magic On the Storm (May 4). She is also a member of the Deadline Dames group blog along with authors Rachel Vincent, Lilith Saintcrow, Jenna Black, Karen Mahoney, Rinda Elliot, Toni Andrews and Jackie Kessler. A pretty talented bunch!
Devon is pretty excited about Magic On the Storm (coming May 4) and thinks you will be too. So much so that we have not one, but two (2) Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of the book ready to be won by some lucky commenters (details at the end of the post). Anyone winning a copy is welcome to do a guest review of the book here at SciFiGuy.ca (optional but not required to enter).
I asked Devon if she would do a guest post talking about the rich world-building and magic system that she employs in the series, and of course I was also curious to know what other interesting projects were in the works (steampunk anyone?). Devon was happy to accommodate and I think readers new to her books and those already fans will find something that piques their curiosity.
Devon will be happy to answer your questions, so the comments floor is now open. With that said, welcome Devon!
Thanks for having me here, Doug.
One of the great questions I’m asked about the Allie Beckstrom series, is how I came up with the world building, and how I am handling what is (hopefully) a nine-book story arc.
A short story needs engaging characters, original world building, and a tight conflict, in under ten thousand words (in the case of the Allie Beckstrom short story, six thousand words.) Which means you must know your world on an instinctive and intuitive level and also on a practical, logical level. A short story only hints at the bigger picture, but those hints must impact the story and paint a full, richly detailed world.
So my basic world building was done on a short story level. I needed a character in a modern city where magic and business collided. I came up with three or four ideas I liked but decided were too common-place. And then I found Allie.
She isn’t a police officer or a private detective or a bounty hunter. She isn’t all powerful. She’s a woman trying to help the people she cares about by Hounding (magically tracing old spells back to the user who cast them) despite the demands and expectations of her rich, controlling father, who owns one of the most powerful magic-and-technology integration companies in the world.
I got to thinking that if magic were real–as common as electricity or natural as water–it would probably cost us something to use. There’s no free lunch in real life, and I wanted to treat Allie’s world with the same rules as the real world. So magic is easy to access and anyone can use it. But magic costs something. And that cost is pain.
When Allie uses magic, she not only pays the price in pain, she also sometimes loses her memory. Magic use, for her, comes at a very high price. Additionally, her father has made enemies with shady, powerful people who use magic in ways never imagined. Allie gets thrown into a situation with illegal magic that’s way over her head.
That was the basic set up for the short story.
When the short story was rejected, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d been thinking about the world a lot, and about Allie and her father and Zayvion. There was a larger story hinted at–a whole series of events the story (chapter) sets up. I knew it would take nine books to tell the full story.
That is not to say I had it outlined, scene-by-scene, but I knew who was ultimately behind the evil-doings, and good-doings, and what they wanted. I knew what other people wanted and would risk. I knew what Allie wanted and would risk. For her to reach her goals, she must question her love, trust, and sense of identity, while fighting for her life and the life of the people she cares about. But Allie never gives up no matter how badly the odds are stacked against her. I love that about her.
I hope to write books seven through nine, which will finally answer all the questions and get Allie to that ending I’ve had in mind for her all along. That is not to say they will be the last books in the Allie Beckstrom world. Book nine will introduce new challenges for Allie and the gang, but the big story first introduced in the short story and first chapter of MAGIC TO THE BONE, will finally be resolved.
And while I am so excited to share Allie’s world with readers, I do have a couple other projects in the works.
My other project is a collection of short stories, (tentatively titled, A Cup of Normal) that will be out from Fairwood Press in the fall of this year. This collection of dark fantasy, science fiction and humor stories will also include short stories that have never been printed. Again, these stories aren’t “urban” fantasy, but they explore fears, hopes, joys and interesting “what-if” questions that come from looking at our real world through the lens of the fantastic.
Thank you again for having me, Doug! I’ll be checking in to answer questions, or to just spend a little time chatting.
- Two (2) ARCs (thats the one without the fancy cover) of Magic on the Storm to giveaway courtesy of Devon Monk.
- Leave a comment or question for Devon or for the fun of it, suggest a title for Books 7, 8 or 9 in keeping with the titling used so far Magic...
- Open to US and Canada.
- Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
- Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
- Giveaway open until Midnight, March 22, 2010 EST.
AUTHOR and BOOK SHOWCASEOfficial Devon Monk Website
Read an excerpt.
Penguin Group (USA)
Published: May 4, 2010
ISBN #: 9780451463272
Allie Beckstrom/Magic Series