While paranormal and fantasy stories seem to be all magic and whimsy, one of the aspects I love the most about the genre is how it can be blended with reality. In my latest Philadelphia Coven Chronicles book, Rising for Autumn, I tackled a lot of the real-world difficulties facing the boss of a big organization, enhanced a thousandfold by the fact that they’re all witches. With all the crazy situations the characters get into like blossoming romance interrupted by growling wights or battling fae on every street corner, it’d be easy to lose touch with the human side of things.
Best way to connect the readers to the characters? Give them human problems, real-life issues apart from the magic-induced ones. So while witches, hunters, fae, and necromancers are fighting throughout the city, the leader of the Coven is also dealing with the weight of being a boss. Instead of a regular office of employees, Alanna Carrington has an entire building of witches in her employ, the sort of crazy that equates to herding cats.
What makes Alanna’s situation even more relatable is the personal issues she has to shove aside due to her responsibilities. Even though her brother died the year before, she hasn’t been able to lean on anyone since she’s the leader of the Coven, and during the span of the book, that stress of that burden weighs on her more and more. Sure, she might be dealing with necromancers raising the dead and falling for a djinn who hates her guts, but despite the supernatural aspects, she’s as human as they come.
So if you’re tackling the realm of urban fantasy and having trouble grounding your characters, don’t forget their real life details. What frustrates them at their jobs? What do they like to geek out over? In my latest novel, Alanna might seem like an ice queen, but her stoic appearance hides a plethora of problems and a secret obsession with horror movies. As much as the worldbuilding aspect of any magic-related universe can sometimes take over the story, your protagonists are what make the story come alive.
Philadelphia Coven Chronicles #3
By Katherine McIntyre
Crisis and danger have become second nature for Alanna Carrington. After all, as the boss of the Philadelphia Coven, she’s responsible for upholding the laws amongst the supernatural. Which means when the Order of the Serpent rears its ugly head, this time with the most powerful necromancer this city’s ever seen, she’s the one person who can keep Philly safe. Ex-Order djinn and now ally, Samuel Karim, happens to be the best-suited guy to help. Except he’s also the first man who’s stoked her interest in far too long, and ever since she commandeered the lamp he’s tethered to for safekeeping, he also hates her guts.
As the Order gathers the necromancers of her city and sparks a dangerous alliance, she finds herself working with Samuel Karim more and more. Hatred turns to passion, and when he exhibits a strength and compassion that breaks through her ironclad defenses, she finds herself falling deeper despite the complications between them. Yet with her city under siege and their lives on the line, the sharp desire between them erupts into the temptation to break their own rules, before the Order of the Serpent robs them of the chance permanently.