Esther Diamond series author Laura Resnick on finding the comedy in misadventures
Please help me welcome Laura Resnick, author of the hilariously addicting Esther Diamond series!
|At the same time, though, fantasy is about the confrontation between Good and Evil, which is actually pretty serious stuff. Moreover, things like murder, body snatching, and violent assault, all of which occur in Unsympathetic Magic, are dangerous and menacing in any context. Which is fine, because comedy only works (in my opinion) when the stakes are every bit as real, heartfelt, and urgent as they are in drama or tragedy. The tone of the Esther Diamond novels is a happy hug rather than a despairing sob or angry shove, but Esther nonetheless faces real danger, is genuinely terrified by it, and confronts her fears precisely because so much is at stake—such as the safety of people she cares about and, indeed, the survival of her city.|
|[floatquote]when you set aside the book, you (I blithely assume) don’t line your windows with garlic to keep vampires out[/floatquote] Fantasy is a great metaphor for the most towering, terrifying, and meaningful things in life; but it’s also really tricky to bring off convincingly, since—unlike, say, armed robbery, infidelity, or war—it’s realistically outside our life experience and always will be. While you’re reading an urban fantasy novel, the author has to make you believe wholeheartedly in magic, zombies, vampires, dark spirits, or demons menacing our contemporary world… even though, when you set aside the book, you (I blithely assume) don’t line your windows with garlic to keep vampires out, or wear an embarrassingly odorous gris-gris pouch around your neck (as Esther is obliged to do in Unsympathetic Magic) to protect yourself from evil sorcery.|
|So the goal in a fantasy novel is to make you believe with heart-pounding urgency and compelling absorption in the dangers and rewards of things you probably don’t ever expect to encounter in real life (such as a zombie attack on East 121st Street in Manhattan); and the simultaneous goal of an Esther Diamond novel is to explore, while conveying the pain of thwarted love and the terror of confronting Evil, what’s truly funny about our daily (and nightly) attempts to deal with the bizarre challenges of being alive in a crazy world.|
|I mentioned that this is Esther’s third adventure. Her second tale is Doppelgangster (previously reviewed on this site) and her fourth tale is Vamparazzi, both of which novels are currently available. Esther’s fifth misadventure, Polterheist, will be released in October (and #6, The Misfortune Cookie, is planned for 2013). Due to various events too complicated to go into here (see this page of my website for details), I switched publishers after Esther’s first book, Disappearing Nightly, and that novel, which has been out-of-print and unavailable for a while, will be reissued by my new publisher this June. (I get asked about this a lot.) In fact, I’ve just seen the final cover proofs for it!
Anyhow, because of that initial publishing glitch, I wrote Doppelgangster (#2) with the assumption that it would be many readers’ first introduction to this series.
|[floatquote]even if you’re unfamiliar with this series, go ahead and try Unsympathetic Magic as your first installment[/floatquote] Moreover, since I always just want to enjoy whichever book I pick up in a series, without “having to” hunt down the first volume and read the books in rigidly chronological order, the Esther Diamond novels are all structured (and, for the foreseeable future, will continue to be structured) so that a new reader can enjoy and understand what’s going on in any of the books, regardless of which one she picks up first. So even if you’re unfamiliar with this series, go ahead and try Unsympathetic Magic as your first installment. After all, I wrote this book, too, with the expectation that it might indeed be your first exposure to Esther Diamond, her friends, and her nemeses.
- Laura Resnick
About the author
Laura Resnick is the author of the popular Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, whose current releases include Unsympathetic Magic, Doppelgangster, and Vamparazzi, as well as the upcoming Disappearing Nightly and Polterheist, both scheduled for publication in 2012. She is on the Web at LauraResnick.com.
Visit Laura’s website here.