‘You dress like a Victorian and ARE a supernatural’: My blossoming love affair with gaslamp fantasy!

I’m game for trying pretty much anything once.

That isn’t to say I intend to try pretty much everything once (one would have to live forever to pull that off, and even with all of my glitter I don’t have that kind of sparkle), or that I would even necessarily want to in all situations…but if the situation presents itself and seems right, then why not?

If something’s going to stop me, it’ll have to be more than just a general unwillingness to throw myself wholeheartedly into everything new. :)

And that’s my personal policy, both in life and in writing.

If a plot bunny strikes, I’m not going to stop and ask it what happy little genre-farm it hails from. I’m going to pick it up and give it a proverbial hug, and then play with it until it’s done. That simple.

But at the same time, even if I’m willing to go play in and explore every genre, that doesn’t mean that every genre is home. That every genre is mine (or vice-versa, if you prefer).

There are places where we fit better than others, and I found one of my own a while back.

Realistic fiction, while something I can do, isn’t it for me, isn’t mine. And while I’ve always adored general fantasy and science fiction, and grew up on a steady diet of both, they weren’t quite it either.

Then there was magical realism, and it was like everything in me leapt up and screamed yes.

Magical realism embodies the message I want to leave behind with my writing: That anything and everything can be fantastical, can be magical, if you only know how to look.

Magical realism is it, for me.

But now I’m realising that maybe it might not be alone. That there might be another niche I fit into nearly as well.

It started with a lot of little pieces falling slowly, slowly, into place.

Night before last, I came across an art print that Madame Talbot had done, that’d come with some of my BPAL scents. (If you’re not familiar with Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, by the way, do feel free to put this post on pause to go peruse their website instead…and then come back here hours later, when you’ve finally escaped its vortex. Because I promise you, you can mire yourself in that website for hours, and it is well worth every moment.)

And it made me think: This is what I want my book covers to look like.

I’d been pondering that for a while, what sort of a general feel I would want at least some of them to have, and I have to say I had absolutely no idea.

At least, not until I saw that art. Then, it clicked.

That, I suppose, was the first step.

Then cue yesterday.

Yesterday, Steve Donoghue gave me a book:

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells.

He had been given a copy by the publisher and thought that I should be the one to have it…because, and I quote, ‘you dress like a Victorian and are a supernatural.’ (Somehow this statement almost sort of made sense, despite the fact I was in a daringly above-the-knees schoolgirl-style skirt at the time. At the very least, people at the day job really do refer to me as some flavour of magical creatue, whether it be an elf, a fairy, or Unicorn Princess. No, I am not making this up, and no, I do not argue. I’m not even sure I could.)

Now, I’ve read, and adored, gaslamp fantasy before. But I always considered the books on their own, and somehow never gave much thought to the genre as a whole.

But now I am.

And again, everything in me is starting to leap up and say yes.

Lit from that period has always made my little bookslut heart flutter. (If I ever used the phrase ‘literary homeboys,’ it would be in reference to Sherlock Holmes and Oscar Wilde — and Simion Satterwhite from Laura Argiri’s The God in Flight — and let’s leave it at that.)

Mix that with magic? And oh, my god, instant bookgasm.

It’s the message of magical realism, with the added atmosphere of the Victorian era, and the mix is beautiful, and I think that I’m in love.

I think that I’m in love, and I want to see where, exactly, this little affair takes me. ♥

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One thought on “‘You dress like a Victorian and ARE a supernatural’: My blossoming love affair with gaslamp fantasy!

  1. I really enjoyed this post. There’s no need to limit yourself to just one genre of choice, and there’s no reason not to mix the two – magical gaslamp realism, anybody?

    (I didn’t know that Sherlock Holmes was one of your literary homeboys! [Holmesboys?] I loved The Hound of the Baskervilles and the handful of short stories I’ve read – and “A Study in Emerald,” of course).

    <3
    Annie

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