Author C.E. Murphy’s dark, sexy urban fantasy novels

March 26, 2008

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! 🙂




  1. I really enjoyed the first book of the series, Heart of Stone and I’m looking forward to picking up House of Cards.

    I loved the Walker Papers, is there any way you would consider writing more books in that series?

  2. You had my interest when you said Beauty got the short end of the straw. LOL Your series sounds wonderful. 🙂

  3. Hey, Vicky–

    The fourth Walker Papers is scheduled for spring 2009. 🙂 I’ve got a contract for books 4-6, and am planning 9 books total for the series. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying the books! 🙂


    *laughs* Well, doesn’t she? She falls in love with a wonderful magical Beast…and he turns out to be a boring old prince in the end. Every fairy tale’s got a prince, for heaven’s sake, but a *Beast*, now that’s something worth having!


  4. […] Review Round-up Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance Blog reviews House of Cards by C.E. […]

  5. […] featured this week over at Harlequin’s paranormal romance blog, where I talk about HOUSE OF CARDS and … mostly about HOUSE OF CARDS. Go forth, if you feel […]

  6. Looking forward to the last in the Negotiator series and more of the Walker Papers!


  7. […] featured this week over at Harlequin’s paranormal romance blog, where I talk about HOUSE OF CARDS and … mostly about HOUSE OF CARDS. Go forth, if you feel […]

  8. hehe B&tB has always been my favorite, too. It’s no wonder I love the Negotiator books. I can’t wait for Hands of Flame!

    And the next Walker Papers, now that you mention it. And TQB. I think you’re officially my favorite author now.

    Also – my eyes went big and round at the idea of Jo and Grit working together on ANYTHING. If the worlds could somehow align in any way, shape, or form, that’d be one heck of a fanfic, don’t you think? 😀

  9. Just finished House of Cards. Ohmygosh! I can not wait for the third installment! I loved the urban shaman series, but I like this series even better. My only complaint is it’s a planned trilogy. I sincerely hope C.E. Murphy is not going to abandon this amazing universe after just three books!

    Please write faster. I want the next installment!

    Thanks for the great read

    Pam East

  10. Love it! I love Beauty and the Beast stories, and I like it when the Beast remains, well, a bit of a beast. I’ve been meaning to check these books out, and now I’ll definitely have to.

  11. Jess–
    *laughs out loud* Jo and Margrit don’t live in the same universe–Jo’s world is definitely not Margrit’s. It doesn’t seem very likely that they’d end up in the same story, despite my amusement at the idea of how the world would implode if they did… 🙂

    I have other ideas for the Old Races world, but it’ll be a while before I get to them! I need to give my brain a little break. I’ve been writing as fast as I can! 🙂


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