How do you balance the historical with the paranormal, in your books?

Posted December 8, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Guest Post / 18 Comments

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Magic is a way to cheat.

This isn’t always true, and it depends on what you mean by “cheating”. Magic in real-world belief systems has its own rules; so does magic in fiction, and the better-defined those rules are, the better the story works. Magic isn’t like having the answers to a test beforehand, but it can be like knowing the back roads so you don’t have to deal with traffic, or like pressing the right combination of buttons on a Nintendo so you get thirty extra lives.

(This is one of the reasons I do fantasy rather than science fiction. I don’t mind internal consistency, but I can’t deal with having to know gravitational constants and molecular bonds—if adulthood has any consolation, it’s that I will never in my life need to know Avogadro’s Number again.)

In historical fiction, cheating is very useful—almost essential, for me. I’m a shallow girl, for whom the SCA and similar have always been too much like camping; I don’t particularly want to deal with the realities of plumbing and dentistry, let alone birth control, as they existed before the twentieth century. Still less do I want my heroes and heroines to share the mainstream attitudes to sex, gender, and race, because I prefer to write about people I could spend five minutes talking to.

The world was what it was, and people were what they were, but magic is a way to get around that. A woman who knows how to cast a few spells isn’t going to pay as much attention to exactly what society tells her is proper, and is probably going to know more than she’s supposed to. A man whose companions include dragons or elementals is less likely to have real problems with independent women, or people of other races. At least, that’s the case in the worlds I create.

At the same time, I do write historical fiction, and I want the world as a whole to be pretty recognizable, so I need to find reasons for magic to be a secret, and for the hero and heroine to have to operate within the commonly-understood rules, even if they don’t privately believe in them. (In the Highland Dragon novels, this is partly because James the First and other rulers around his time did a lot to suppress magical knowledge, and partly because the wars back then destroyed information—no digital records, you know!)

In that way, I come back to the theme of back roads and cheat codes. The world is still what it is: I, and my characters, just know some extra ways to get around it.

Review The Highland Dragon's Lady by Isabel CooperTitle: The Highland Dragon’s Lady
Series: Highland Dragons
Author: Isabel Cooper
Pubdate: December 2, 2014 

He’s Out of the Highlands and on the Prowl…

Regina Talbot-Jones has always known her rambling family home was haunted. She’s also aware her brother has invited one of his friends to attend an ill-conceived séance. She didn’t count on that friend being so handsome…and she certainly didn’t expect him to be a dragon.

Younger son of a family of shapeshifting dragons, Highlander Colin MacAlasdair has lived a life free of both family duty and mortal cares. Moving in and out of human society as he wishes, he takes very little seriously—until Regina drops onto his balcony one midnight, catching his attention and his interest. She’s like no mortal he’s ever met, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to get her out of his head.

Bound by circumstance, drawn by the fire awakening inside of them, Colin and Regina must work together to defeat a vengeful spirit—and discover whether their growing love is powerful enough to defy convention.

The Highland Dragons Series:

Legend of the Highland Dragon

The Highland Dragon’s Lady

Night of the Highland Dragon

 

Isabel Cooper lives in Boston with her boyfriend and a houseplant she’s kept alive for over a year now. She maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing. She only travels through time the normal way and has never fought a demon, but she can waltz. For more visit isabelcooper.wordpress.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tBXcc5

Apple: http://bit.ly/1Drnuix

BAM: http://bit.ly/1nNEY6Q

B&N: http://bit.ly/133C30D

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1tGmqr8

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1sArZAY
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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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SharondaMary KirklandLover Of RomancekimbacaffeinateCarmel @ Rabid Reads Recent comment authors
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Melanie Simmons
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Melanie Simmons

I don’t read many historicals and the few I do are all paranormal in nature. I also read more for the paranormal aspect than the historical one. I will say that Karen Marie Moning in her Highlander series does go through the whole bathroom issue with a woman who traveled back into the past. That heroine was mortified by the bathroom situation, as would I.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh man, me too! Modern plumbing is definitely one of the best reasons to live now and not then. Now that would be a great cheat for magic in the HRs- having ways to deal with the swick issues. I still need to read KMM’s Highlanders time travel stories.

Melanie Simmons
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Melanie Simmons

I highly recommend the audios. I love that narrator. He does wonderful Scottish accents.

Sophia Rose
Guest

You don’t have to tell me twice. I’ll definitely check those out.

Carmel @ Rabid Reads
Guest

I personally don’t read the Historical genre unless it comes with a side of Paranormal. That way the author doesn’t have to be as focused on accuracy, and can make certain allowances. Plus, I’m all about girl power, and depending on the time period, women are often portrayed as being less, and that just don’t fly with me.

Carmel @ Rabid Reads

Sophia Rose
Guest

I love the HR and PNR blend too. In fact, that’s how I got into Steampunk as well. Put PNR/UF with most anything and I’ll try it. Yeah, HR that is accurate would not be the place to go for finding girl power. 😉

kimbacaffeinate
Guest

Well you know me..I love historical and paranormal and mixing the two is always nice 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yes! This was a fun romp for the romance, and the historical era ghost banishing part was even more fun. Plus pssst, there’s a handsome dragon shifter.

Lover Of Romance
Guest

These are my two favorite genres…so when they get mixed together…its just fabulous, especially when its done right. I feel like paranormal can fit well in a historical context, but then I will read anything that is historical whether or not it has a paranormal twist to it. LOL But I do love the mixture, it creates a unique element to the story.

Sophia Rose
Guest

That’s me too. I already love historicals, but it just broadens the scope when authors blend it with other genres like PNR, UF, Steampunk, Suspense…

Mary Kirkland
Guest

That’s how I got into paranormal in the first place. I don’t even remember what the book was but it was a historical where a woman was looking at an old painting of a Scottish Lord when she visited his castle and all of the sudden she was traveling back through time and met with him and then they both traveled to her time and were able to travel back and forth. It was a great mix of both historical and paranormal.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh, yes, time-travel ones are pretty cool, Mary. I have several on my list that I want to read including KMM’s Highlanders that are magical and time-travel ones.

Mary Kirkland
Guest

That’s how I got into paranormal in the first place. I don’t even remember what the book was but it was a historical where a woman was looking at an old painting of a Scottish Lord when she visited his castle and all of the sudden she was traveling back through time and met with him and then they both traveled to her time and were able to travel back and forth. It was a great mix of both historical and paranormal.

Sharonda
Guest

I read my first paranormal historical romance last year and loved it. A awesome combination of both…I think it’s a genre I will definitely check out more.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I jumped in through the Kristen Callihan series. Which one was yours, Sharonda?

Sharonda
Guest

Colorblind by Violette Dubrinsky. It’s a IR historical/pnr romance. That book was really really good

Sophia Rose
Guest

that’s on my wish list already after I read your awesome review on it. Cool!

Sharonda
Guest

Yay! 😉