Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Deborah Riley-Magnus

Welcome Deborah Riley-Magnus, who writes of vampires in West Hollywood in her latest book Cold in California!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Deborah: I’m the kind of person who drives herself crazy looking for the “what if?” Whether I’m writing fantasy, women’s fiction or non-fiction, my goal is always to challenge the standard thinking. If I explore a story idea, it’s bound to go way out of control before I can even begin to rein it back into the story it will become. It’s just the way I’m built. If I’m writing non-fiction, it’s the same thing. My motto is, “Who says it has to be that way just because it always has been? Why can’t it be this way?” Lure and accepted mythology beware!

Amber: Tell us about Cold in California. Why vampires? Why California?
Deborah: The first thing I probably should say is that I don’t like vampires. Everything I’d read or seen in films was kind of a turn off. It’s not so much the blood and gore, it’s the stripping of humanity that kind of bothered me. Granted, more contemporary authors have made their vampiric characters far more likeable and humane, but still, there was always something about the whole idea that never attracted me. Then I figured it out.
            It wasn’t the fact that vampires are dead, scary monsters, it was the fact that they had no hope. No redemption. No heaven. Cold in California is a book about redemption. Based on standard mythology I couldn’t have redemption for my vampire, Gabriel Strickland, unless I could give him a soul and a second chance. Oh, and it had to have humor, too. Lots and lots of humor.
            My urban fantasy takes a standard vampire, makes him double dead (twice-baked) and puts him in a West Hollywood warehouse where he has to live out purgatory with other dead supernaturals – trolls, werewolves, pixies, leprechauns, fairies, you name it. A chosen few from each supernatural race are there, even a few you may have never heard of. Against their natures, all these strange characters are challenged with earning the brownie points to get through the pearly gates. Gabriel, of course has far more difficulties, after all he’s handsome, has to now live among humans and dead supernaturals and the other ‘living’ supernaturals infesting the planet. He has to deal with the fact that everything he believed about final death was a lie, tolerate the unique West Hollywood culture, endure intense new love (of course) and win over pending disaster. Go figure. And all this guy wanted to do was be dead.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Deborah: Far too many to list, but I will say this, it must push the boundaries of everything we’ve imagined about a story. Stories of time travel twisted with supernatural elements and sprinkled with a layer of paranormal. To me anything that isn’t the day to day reality is fantasy. Is there a troll living in those trees or under that bridge? Are pixies causing my monitor to blink? Is there a spirit at my shoulder dictating this? Is that woman on the bus a witch? Stories that seem normal but pulse with the fantasy are my favorites!

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
Deborah: I think the typical answer to this question would be because people want to escape reality, but I don’t believe that for a moment. I think readers love fantasy because it defines our reality. Fantasy readers really don’t believe that a storm is coming; we believe it’s being sent to us. We believe that some force is bringing it to battle another force we just don’t know about yet. And of course, good will win over evil. We look for these confirmations in the newspaper stories and television news. Fantasy readers KNOW there’s more to the world than what we see. We read fantasy because it opens more avenues of thought, it stretches us, it helps us see the average in remarkable characters and worlds and vice versa. Fantasy lovers know we’re right about that too, lol.

Amber: Would you write fantasy if no one read it?

Deborah: I think all fantasy writers have. Of course, it far nicer when people do read it and discover the world you’ve created. Writing isn’t a job or a career as much as an obsession. Writers simply can’t help themselves. The other side of the coin is how to make a living at it or at the least, how to break even and get readers to look for us. I address that subject in my non-fiction, The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape, being released in August/September 2011. And oh yes, there are many sprinkles of fairy dust in that book too!  

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction.

Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog, Writaholic, and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. In 2011, she has two novels and one non-fiction, “The Author Success Coach”, being released. 

She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.

Deborah's  Website and Blog Links

My Wonderful Publisher’s Link

Deborah's Contest!
Leave a comment
by June 25th
for a chance
to win a copy of 
Cold in California!


  1. your book sounds so good! i love how you wrote your own book about vampires. i dont often read books about them because authors always make them cold, unemotion and hopeless. i have read very few vampire books that ive liked. thank you for the wonderful interview and the giveaway! :)

  2. Thanks so much! Thrilled to meet you!
    Deb Riley-Magnus

  3. I've been watching this book develop over the last year via FB. Bought a copy on release day. Haven't had as much reading time as I'd have liked but by Chapter 8 I'm totally hooked. Nice blog Deb.

  4. David, you're a gem! So glad you're enjoying the book.


  5. I enjoyed the interview. And by the way, thanks for hosting the facebook authors' page. I'm not usually a fan of the vampire books, but I'm looking forward to reading "Cold in California." Sounds like a fun, fresh approach. Best of luck with it.
    -- Wright Gres
    author of
    "Macedonia Passage: Dangerous Cargo"