Sara is one of those writers who thinks so far outside the box, the box ceases to exist. She takes an ordinary idea and twists and turns and warps it into something new and different, yet still recognizable. She is crazy, fun, and funky. And her steampunk novella The 19 Dragons is awesome, y’all!
Thanks for letting me stop by for a guest blog, Ana!
Part of the reason that Ana and I became acquainted was a similar love for demons. We were in the same writers’ group for a couple years, and I attribute a lot of my development as a writer from that time to her hepful criticism. Our books were kind of like “brothers from separate mothers”– both urban fantasy with strong female protagonists, with the special distinction of featuring demons. (Of course, my heroine kills demons, whereas Ana’s is a demon herself.)
Why demons? Why not vampires, or werewolves, or any of the other popular beasties that populate urban fantasy right now?
The fact of the matter is that even though the good ol’ vamps vs. weres is fun, we’ve built a lot of expectations around what these stories should be. We expect vampires to be sexy. To some degree, we expect them to be romantic. Werewolves are ruled by the moon, and while we can get away with them being more violent than vampires, we’re starting to expect them to be romantic heroes, too. The popularity of these creatures has made them stale.
Fortunately, we have demons surging in popularity now, too, and that’s partially a backlash against the popularity of vampires. We want to enjoy the trappings of dark fantasy without blood-drinkers or sparkly what-have-yous once in awhile, too, and demons are even older than vampires. You could even consider them the granddaddies of vamps.
By creating three-dimensional vampire and demon characters, we’re casting this evil in a new light. We’re making it more human and relatable. At the same time, there’s a core at the center of demonic mythology that cannot be made human, because unlike vampires, demons have never been human. You can write them with pure darkness. The kind of darkness that made you hide under the covers as a child and shiver at the shadows.
Plus, there’s a lot of variety in demons. You can have them like they were in the Lesser Key of Solomon, where they usually showed up with chicken feet and goat heads and legions under their control, or you can make them sexy and seductive and indistinguishable from humans. And that’s not even touching on demons from all the cultures around the world! When writing, you can draw from Japanese oni, or the asuras of east Indian mythology, or the violent spirits of animistic societies. Vampries are certainly pervasive in mythology around the world, but even they have their limits. There are no limits with demons.
I love getting to write demons. In my books, they’re part of a fully developed society in Hell similar to feudalism, which is kind of a fun way to weave history through contemporary fantasy. I like getting to take advantage of their infinite varieties and insurmountable darkness. And having the ability to write in a sub-genre that doesn’t have expectations that my werewolves do is refreshing.
Even though demons are becoming more popular, I don’t think we’ll see the genre become saturated with them the way it has with vampires. They can stay fun and evil, just the way we like them, and have a good long shelf life in urban fantasy.
What do you think, readers? Are demons here to stay?
Six Moon Summer available now!