This year I’m doing a new series on my blog: Fantasy Focus. Each month, I’m focusing on a different fantasy subgenre. Fantasy is such a broad genre with so many different things to offer. So far, there have been focuses on Comedic Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy, Grimdark, and Epic/High Fantasy.
Today, I’m privileged to talk with Jamie Jackson, author of the Adventures of a Villain-Leaning Humanoid series.
Hi Jamie! Thank you for joining me to talk about urban fantasy!
First, will you tell readers a little bit about yourself?
So, I’m basically Doug from Up. I’m easily excitable, loud, and often distracted. I love fantasy and science fiction but will read any and all genres I can get my hands on. I’ve worked backstage in theater and behind the scenes documentaries about movies and TV shows are my favorite things to watch. I’m also married to an awesome and supportive man, have three kids, and two dogs.
Will you talk a little bit about Fear and Fury?
So, it’s the first novel in my urban fantasy superhero series, Adventures of a Villain-Leaning Humanoid. It has a 4th wall-breaking 1st person narrative, Greek mythology retelling, and a cast of ruthless, morally grey heroes going up against some epic villains. The first book is essentially Meg’s “origin” story, when a previously unknown villain makes her his next target, she has to turn to the heroes she’s spent her life trying to avoid for help.
I love that your main character, Megaera, is a “self-described not-a-hero”. How did you get in the “zone”, so to speak, when writing a more self-centered character?
I’ll be honest, I have no idea. I like to think that I thought about if I was hero, what kind of hero would I hope to be, and then wrote the opposite of that. But she just showed up as a petty, and somewhat self-centered person to start with.
Your book is considered urban fantasy. How would you define that subgenre?
I would say urban fantasy is anything occurring in a modern setting that has fantastical elements, either magic, superheroes, the paranormal, etc.
What first drew you to writing urban fantasy?
I wanted a world that had cell phones.
In truth, it’s a genre I enjoy reading, and for my first real novel I wanted to write something where there wasn’t going to be an overwhelming amount of world-building. When it’s a universe like ours, we already know most of the rules for how things work, so for a project I was attempting while involuntarily homeschooling it was the ideal genre to write in. And the idea for Meg had been knocking around in my head for a while already.
What are some difficulties with writing urban fantasy?
Realism! You have to balance the line of what could realistically occur in our world with modern elements like technology and still being able to exaggerate it without losing your readers benefit of the doubt.
What are some strengths in this subgenre?
I think one of the strengths is that since it occurs in the modern world, it can be easier for readers to relate the situations the characters get into. And as a whole I think we would love for there to be magic in the modern world, and urban fantasy gives that to us. It’s also flexible with the amount of creatures, mythology, and magic you can put into your story. The genre runs the gamut from werewolves and vampires to the fae and gods and goddesses being a part of those worlds. And it tends to blend sci-fi, fantasy and horror.
Who are some of your go-to authors?
Craig Schaefer, Rachel Aaron. I’ve read the majority of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. Right now I have a huge backlog of indie author books I’m working through, but the authors of the ones I have read are all on my instant buy list.
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