Ad Hoc Q&A
Published April 11, 2017 | By Shawna
@ShadowhunterBooks posed some questions to me this weekend via Twitter that I knew I couldn’t answer in 140 characters, so I decided it was timer to return to much much-neglected blog.
The first question was whether witches existed in my Ravensblood series and how they differed from mages.
Witches, AKA Wiccans, do exist in the alternate-universe world I’ve created for that urban fantasy series. Those familiar with the series will recall that I have imagined three coexisting and co-mingling communities: Art, Craft, and Mundane. Mundanes have either no aptitude for or interest in magic. Art is High Magic, magic for magic’s sake, and tends to be flashier and in some senses more powerful, and its practitioners are mages. Craft encompasses more spiritual, often more nature-based magical traditions. Craft would include Wiccans, shamanic practitioners, and (more rarely) certain more mystical sects of Judeo-Christian and Muslim traditions. Mother Crone is a Wiccan, and she and other Craft practitioners helped hide Raven while he was clearing his name during the second book of the series. Art and Craft seldom mix, although there have been instances of the two being blended, and we will see that happen again in later books in the series.
@ShadowhunterBooks also asked for advice on how to incorporated magical beings and pirates into fiction written in a contemporary setting. You see a lot of examples of different approaches to adding in magical beings in urban fantasy and paranormal novels. It’s really not too tricky. You just need to decide what the parameters are during your world-building stage and make certain that you stay consistent. Some questions to ask yourself: Are your magical beings widely known to exist, or are most humans completely unaware? If the former, is this a recent development (as in Charlaine Harris’s vampire novels), or have people always known (as in my Werewolves and Gaslight series—okay, Victorian and not contemporary but the same principle)? Each choice you make has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Pirates are a bit trickier. I’m assuming you want romantic, swashbuckling pirates a la Errol Flynn or Johnny Depp, not modern Somali cutthroats. Since the swashbuckler is so necessarily tied to a certain era and technology level, you have your work cut out for you. Some possibilities that spring to mind: Time-travel of one form or another? Ghost pirates that exist to modern-day? Maybe members of a theatrical troupe that are magically turned into their roles? Immortal former swashbucklers now playing a pirate role at a Renn Faire? Beings from another world or dimension that have a pirate obsession and take cosplay too far?
I’m curious to see what @ShadowhunterBooks comes up with. I do love my pirates.