My Urban Paranormal Metaphysical Fantasy Romance
By Lynne Cantwell
I’ll be honest with you. Half the time, I don’t even know what category to put the Pipe Woman Chronicles in.
Back when I began writing Seized, the first book, the point of the exercise was to try my hand at writing an urban fantasy. I had read a few series in the genre by then, and it seemed to me that its elements included a female protagonist who finds herself with some sort of paranormal powers. With those powers, which she might not ever figure out how to control, she is called on to take sides in what is often a battle between good and evil. The main character is usually also the narrator. And usually, it seems, there’s a shapeshifter in there somewhere – sometimes it’s the main character, sometimes it’s her love interest, and sometimes it’s both.
As an added bonus, if there’s a smokin’ hot relationship going on, and a “happily ever after” ending, you could also call the book a paranormal romance.
So I designed the series along those lines. Naomi Witherspoon tells her story in first person. She’s a successful lawyer and an even more successful mediator; she’s got a handsome boyfriend who’s a bit of a jerk, but he’s just proposed to her, so yay; and then out of the blue, a Lakota Sioux goddess enhances her powers of persuasion so that she can mediate a power-sharing agreement between the Christian God and all the pagan gods and goddesses that His worship has displaced.
You see the problem. Who’s the good guy? Well, Naomi is, but she’s batting for the pagans. Does that
Another author recently suggested to me that the Pipe Woman Chronicles might be metaphysical (or philosophical) fantasy. One definition of that is a story in which the characters ponder the meaning of life and whether free will exists, and in which deities directly influence events. Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is an example of metaphysical fantasy.
My author friend is right – I’ve got some of that here. My characters do talk about free will, and the gods definitely interfere in their lives. But “metaphysical fantasy” sounds kind of…I don’t want to say pretentious, exactly, but that’s the word that comes to mind. Even the alternate term, “visionary fiction,” seems a little overblown. I’m just trying to write an urban fantasy here! All I wanted to do was to write a series that included paranormal elements, but no vampires or werewolves. Not that I’ve got anything against either vampires or werewolves, mind you – I just think they’ve been a tad overdone.
So maybe what I’ve written is magic realism? As appealing is the notion is, I don’t think so. One key element of magic realism is the sense of dislocation, of diaspora, among the characters; the magic is an outward manifestation of the emotions that the characters cannot otherwise express. And while Native Americans certainly qualify as dislocated, I’m not really using magic that way in my story.
Plus there’s Joseph Curtis, the smokin’ hot shapeshifter who Naomi falls for.
So I guess I’m back to calling the Pipe Woman Chronicles an urban fantasy, with paranormal overtones and metaphysical/visionary undertones, and some romance for good measure.
PIPE WOMAN CHRONICLES
Naomi Witherspoon lives in interesting times. At the winter solstice, she was Seized by a Native American goddess to mediate a power-sharing agreement between all the pagan gods and goddesses and the Christian God. Then, as her relationship with her new boyfriend Fissured, she Tapped a wellspring of strength – her Native American heritage.
Now, Gravid and due any day, she must conduct the mediation of her life. Will she succeed? Or will it all go up in smoke?
The answers to those questions, and more, can be found in Annealed, the final installment in the Pipe Woman Chronicles, an urban fantasy series by Lynne Cantwell.
It began at the winter solstice
And it ends...
And it ends...
About the Author: Lynne Cantwell
Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited and writes a monthly post for The Indie Exchange.
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