In a past post of mine where I spoke about fear, one of the things on my list was fear of the supernatural (or rather, the preternatural). More specifically, what’s scary to people is when they encounter preternatural happenings of the non-friendly persuasion.
With the recent popularity of ghost hunting TV shows and movies like The Conjuring, it seems paranormal investigations, ghost hunting, and walking into grandma’s attic asking, “Is anyone here? I’d like to speak with you…” is THE thing to do.
Okay, facetiousness aside, we are jarred by the preternatural, but at the same time we are curious about it and want to try and figure it out. And, it makes great material for fantasy, horror, and paranormal fantasy stories!
In the world of the Gray Tower Trilogy, vampiric warlocks exist, as well as wizards, psychics, and evil spirits. In setting up the magic system of this world, I had to do some research on the supernatural–and I agree with fellow author Matt Posner (and I’m paraphrasing) that when writing demons into a story, it can get uncomfortable. There’s some weird and freaky stuff out on the internet that cannot be unseen or unread–and I’d rather avoid such an experience.
With that said, I felt more comfortable approaching it all with a balanced Good vs. Evil clash, where not only do you see evil forces at work, but also the champions of light beating back the darkness.There are two clerics in the trilogy among those champions–Gabriel di Crocifissa, and Maolan Martin. Father Gabriel shows up in THE TOWER’S ALCHEMIST, a sword-wielding priest with the abilities of an elemental wizard. He’s the equivalent of a vampire hunter, going after Cruenti warlocks who feed off wizards in the way a vampire would a regular human. We don’t meet Maolan until book #2, DARK RIFT, where the grumpy old Irish priest performs an exorcism and scolds my main character for trying to confront a demon on her own.
I suppose I did my job well, because one of my readers emailed me to tell me how the portrayal of the demon in the story bothered him and kept him up at night!
Have you ever had a reading experience like that? Are there books that “get it right,” and others that just end up seeming too bizarre?