Today I’m pleased to welcome Jen Kirchner to my blog. I first “met” Jen through her Vote Your Own Adventure series on her blog. When I heard she had a book coming out, I knew I had to try to bring her here to meet all of you. And she agreed!
Jen is a writer, gamer, and coffee junkie who lives in Seattle. You can find her at her website, JenKirchner.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook. She recently released her first novel, an urban fantasy called The Fourth Channel.
Take it away, Jen…
As a kid, I didn’t enjoy the story of Cinderella. That’s weird, right? What little girl doesn’t dream of being rescued from her chores and siblings and turned into a perfect princess in a gigantic fluffy dress, then swept off her feet by a rich prince?
Apparently this little girl.
Don’t get me wrong—I, like every other little girl, had fantasies of being a regal princess dressed in white. But I also liked lightsabers. Okay, the two concepts don’t really go together, but it gave me a little character. And, unfortunately, since Cinderella and Prince Charming had going for them other than dancing around and losing a shoe (not even close to being as cool as lightsabers) I declared them to be completely boring.
Seriously, now. Do you really mean to tell me that the prince, while waltzing around the dance floor in his tight pants, never once got a wedgie? Or that our lovely Cinderella, who had been overworked and in dire need of a vacation, wasn’t found hiding under the buffet table, guzzling champagne and stuffing her face with salmon asparagus canapés? Then, later, after she’s sufficiently drunk, chatting up an empty suit of armor on display down the hall?
What’s cookin’, good lookin’?
No? Too bad, because that would have been interesting.
Hey, what about that cute and pudgy fairy godmother who can fly and has the magic wand? Yeah. Sign me up for that instead. Those other two send me to Snoozeville.
If only the prince and Cinderella had been interesting. If only they each had a personality trait or two that was unexpected—something that contradicted their perfect natures.
The main character in my novel, The Fourth Channel, struggles with her own personal dichotomy. She’s as near to being a pacifist as she can be. She doesn’t like violence and will avoid a physical confrontation at all costs. As nice as that sounds, it’s incredibly boring. The only way to make her interesting was to give her a trait that was in direct opposition to her pacifist nature.
So I made her a necromancer, a magic user who sacrifices people in exchange for power.
Hey, don’t judge me–it works for a story. Interesting people are ones who have contradictory traits or desires. Unless you’re dull, you have them, too. So do your friends. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s often what makes us like people a lot more.
Take Bilbo Baggins, for example. He’s a reputable hobbit of Bag End and wants nothing more than to stay that way through sensible living and three breakfasts a day. But deep in his heart is a yearning for adventure. He can’t have both at the same time, so what will he do? Thanks to a little trickery from Gandalf, adventure wins out.
Thank goodness, because unless you’re into food porn, The Hobbit would have been the most boring story of all time. Not to mention fattening.
“I don’t know, whaddya think? You think a princess and a guy like me…”
And what about Princess Leia? She’s a diplomat and a princess who wears white—as all princesses should. But she’s not your typical princess with flowery speech and a gentle nature. Princess Leia is sarcastic, shoots guns, and is solely responsible for getting her rescue party trapped in a garbage compactor. She’s a princess in title, and that’s about it. She can’t even fall in love properly! Instead of going with a reputable man of stature and poise, she falls for a criminal and a scoundrel and, regardless of what anyone tells you, he shoots first.
But let’s be honest. If you had to choose one friend, and your only options were Princess Leia and Cinderella, you’d go with Princess Leia every time. I know I would. At least Leia’s spontaneous and an interesting conversationalist. Plus, you never know what might happen when you meet up for coffee.
All Cinderella has going for her is freakishly small feet.
And there are many other examples of quirky, contradictory people we’d love to befriend—or even people we’d love to be. So why do we spend so much time hiding or apologizing for the traits that might be unexpected? It’s who we are, and like Bilbo Baggins and Princess Leia, it’s those opposing traits that draw people to us.
Real people are full of contradictions. I am. Your friends are. And you are, too. Embrace it.
Now who’s ready for a little adventure?
About The Fourth Channel…
For years, Kari Hunter’s fooled the world into thinking she’s just an everyday girl. Sure, she’s the lead singer of world-renowned band Vis Viva, but outside of that, she recycles religiously, is an avid supporter of the environment, and she’s a certifiable coffee addict. But Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and fans.
Kari Hunter is a necromancer.
The rarest and most powerful of all magic-born, necromancers are notorious for leaving a trail of sacrifices in their wake. But Kari isn’t interested in hurting anyone. She works hard at being as un-necromancer-like as possible: everyone she stabs gets a bandage and a lollipop, and whenever her sacrificial knives get too excited by the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.
But when an agent of voodoo master Ruairí O’Bryne catches Kari using her powers, her secret’s out. And if Ruairí finds out who Kari is, he’ll stop at nothing to make her his next sacrifice.
Suit of Armor photo courtesy of Quinet (http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinet/)
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*Disclaimer from Marcy* The Amazon link to The Fourth Channel is my affiliate link.