Love dark, sexy, unhuman heroes in paranormal romance novels? We asked urban fantasy author C. E. Murphy to tell us about her vision of the collision between the “ancient races” and one very modern woman…
By C.E. Murphy, author of House of Cards
New York City’s only legal counsel to the fabled Old Races, Margrit Knight is levelheaded in all matters extraordinary. But when she’s summoned to negotiate a peace treaty among rival factions, her own mortal world threatens to fall apart. Margrit’s been in hot water before, but re-entering the underworld brings a new set of problems. And a new set of friends and enemies, including a ruthless vampire mobster, a dragonlord who won’t take no for an answer, a band of subversive selkies…oh, and Alban Korund, the sexy gargoyle who got her into this mess–and whose granite-strong touch still haunts her every fantasy…
My favorite fairy tale has always been Beauty and the Beast, and that, without question, is the genesis of the Negotiator trilogy. Margrit Knight, a human lawyer, and Alban Korund, a gargoyle who will never be transformed by love’s kiss into a man Margrit can share her days with.
…boy, I’m mean, aren’t I?
Well, actually, I hope I’m not! My real thought behind the setup for these stories was that, like many people I know, I always felt Beauty got a little ripped off by falling in love with a magnificent Beast who, in the end, turned out to be only human.
So I wanted my Beauty to become involved in a world that had not just one Beast, but many, all with their own agendas and intentions. For me, a world in which Alban could exist by necessity had other ancient, magical races which also hid in the shadows of the world we know. The Old Races–gargoyles and dragons and djinn (oh my), selkies, and vampires–filed into place, and Margrit, an ordinary human woman, was thrust among them.
Chaos, as they say, ensued. Margrit’s a meet-it-head-on kind of character, ready to bull her way through on bravado and brains, and the Old Races need someone like her to help them function in the modern world–but they want her on their terms, and Margrit only works on her own. House of Cards starts putting paid to some of the consequences of doing it her way.
(I love consequences. Margrit’s face-it-down attitude is 180 degrees from my other urban fantasy lead, Joanne Walker, who prefers to stick her head in the sand. They’ve both got to deal with the massively different consequences that arise from their individual methods of coping. I think the world might implode if they had to work together on something.)
The Negotiator books are darker and sexier than the Walker Papers. They almost have to be–two-thirds of the story takes place at night, so it’s quite literally darker! But Margrit’s more sure of herself and more open to possibility than Jo is, and so the world she’s confronted with is automatically a lusher and more sensual place. That was a challenge for me as a writer, but I think it was worth it in the end. I hope readers think so too! 🙂