One of my favourite things about writing fiction (both speculative and contemporary alike) is world-building. I love creating back-stories and quirks for the characters, just as much as I love populating their world with best friends, ex-lovers, and struggles. When I’m writing contemporary fiction, I don’t have to re-construct much of the world. With speculative fiction, though, it can mean a complete overhauling of what everyday life means. When I started work on this project, I went into it with one question: if Canada were to be filled with supernatural creatures, what would that Canadian landscape look like?
I picked Canada very deliberately. One, I’m Canadian and I’m already familiar with a lot of what goes on. But I also picked Canada because it’s already uncanny to most of my readers. It’s close enough to most people in the US, there are frequent similarities, but there’s also a strangeness to Canadian things. You know? I wanted to capitalize on that familiarity with a bit of strange–but make it even stranger. One of the ways I did this was to access and categorize what “Canadiana” was. Most people are probably familiar with Americana, right? Google any Lana Del Rey video and you see Americana elevated to an art form. The more I dug around, the more I realized that people had written books about particular aspects of Canadian culture that became elevated to the same kind of Canadiana status. In Douglas Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada, he talks about our cigarette warning labels, moose and beaver iconography, and of course, our Tim Hortons coffee as some of the many items of Canadiana.
But what does supernatural Canadiana look like? Many people in the Canadian spec fic community have tried to answer that question and my book is one of many voices on that. I needed to build a culture around these two characters if I ever wanted their world to make sense. So when you first meet them, they’re at a party organized by Beatrix Jane, someone who works in the underground network for supernaturals who are homeless or transient. A motel they stay at has warnings about creature sex trafficking on it, and they also have photographs of famous monsters on the wall. There’s reality TV devoted to magic and there’s werewolf rest stops. Not to mention, there’s all types of local folklore. Most of this stuff is only glimpsed in the novel, but it was really important for me to create these strange kings of icons if I wanted the world to be believable. And I certainly hope it was!
And if I get my way, it will be the first one of a series involving this supernatural Canadian landscape.
Cop-turned-bounty hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.
Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.
Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.
About the Author: Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal.
Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.