WHY FANTASY IS MORE THAN JUST FANGS AND MAGIC

With: J.C. Welker

As far back as I can remember I spent my childhood immersed in fairytales and the paranormal, but unlike some, the characters I was looking for didn’t actually exist. So in many ways the premise of my novel THE WISHING HEART became a metaphor. Of a girl looking for love and healing through stories and magic. It reflects many of my own experiences growing up, at a time where I felt invisible, hiding who I was, and like my protagonist Rebel I looked to stories to fill that hole.

 

Like many writers I would inhabit mythical lands in my mind, where I could fall in love, be who I was without fear. A world where it was safe to be me. Those stories of paranormal romances and hidden places are the ones I wished I could climb within and make my own. Because those gave me hope. Those fantastical worlds showed me anything was possible. It showed me magic could be anywhere, all around me in everyday miracles and wishes.

 

I just needed to open my eyes.

 

This was the idea behind The Wishing Heart. In my research for potential characters, I looked to those tales I loved, Narnia and Brothers Grimm, legends of lycanthrope, mermaids, witches and magicians, and the jinn wishmakers. I still remember the thrill of first discovering the world of Malinda Lo’s Huntress, at last finding what I had been searching for, a fairytale with two females in love. I studied Holly Black’s Tithe, and how she mixed the Fairy Courts in with the real. How magic could be hiding anywhere—and everywhere, in our cities, in the underground, even right next to us, while people go about their daily lives.

 

I love stories where magic is bound up tightly into who we are, like Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, with a magic that comes from pain, where there is a downfall to its power and also love. In the same way, the magic and wishes I created within TWH come with consequences. And Rebel quickly discovers that beyond the world we see there is a magical one of dread and wonder. That is as dark and dangerous as the real one.

 

When we first meet our two heroines they have already been jaded, been through a lot of pain. I can’t help but love and create the struggling, imperfect protagonist who is more of a misfit than a hero. They’re easier to relate to, it’s their flaws that make them real. Because fantasy and paranormal includes way more than just paranormal shifters, fangs and magic, in a rather counterintuitive way, these stories shed light on our own world. And on ourselves. These are those stories that upset us with the supernatural character who can’t be with the human.

 

Of forbidden love.

 

For most of us queer people we know all too well about that, just existing means having to constantly defend or protect ourselves. To prove we exist.Which is why fantasy can have such an impact, because it’s not just an escape from the real world, it can be used for empowerment. The protagonist who overcomes their struggles and finds they have what it takes to conquer the evil force coming against them, is a resonant theme in fantasy, and one I clung to.

 

In many ways, I wanted the characters within TWH to be asymbol for Rebel, in facing them she was conquering something within herself. The things we face daily—the “wolves” on the street, the treasure we yearn for, the freedom to love, the magicians molding a better world, and those who want it for themselves.

 

And the wishes that can become real.

 

The light and darkness allude to the theme of magic within the The Wishing Heart and the consequences of it. It reflects our inner battles. That one can either let the world’s darkness swallow them, or they can feed the light. In the story the characters learn the one you feed is the one that thrives. The one that heals. It’s about searching for that healing, for the magical, and for ultimately love.

 

That’s what I love about the paranormal.

Authors don’t just create fantasy, we can create hope.

 

THE WISHING HEART

 

With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.

But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.
Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.

But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…

 

ENTANGLED TEEN

 

The Wishing Heart is an exhilarating read about the complexities of the heart and what it means to love.” ~Mia Siegert, author of JERKBAIT 

The Wishing Heart was a fun read. I adored Rebel, a thief with a good, but damaged heart. The book had plenty of magic and fun characters like Anjeline (the Jinni), werewolves, mermaids, magicians, and others.” ~Kristi, Goodreads

Teens are going to gobble this one up!!!!” ~McCall Hoyle, author of The Things with Feathers

“I really liked the romance between [Anjeline and Rebel], building slowly over time, and the plot of the book was very unique and a refreshing new take on the magical realm.” ~Olivia F., Goodreads

The Wishing Heart is an action packed story from start to finish. It features two genuinely fun characters who are both in bad situations, but by working together, they not only find a way to face their own demons, issues, and those trying to stop them, but an adorable romance blossoms as well.” ~Gizmo’s Reviews

“I loved this book and was hooked from the very start. Easily a favourite read! 5 Plus stars out of 5. I can’t wait for the next addition!” ~D.M., Goodreads

Welker creates a wonderfully intriguing book that draws you in and holds your attention. The setting and characters make this story a must read….perfect for any paranormal genre love.” ~Lovely Loveday, Goodreads

 

About the Author:

J.C. Welker is a YA author who’s been, among other things, a fashion designer, a filmmaker and a kickboxer (seriously). Her short documentaries, which focused on LGBTQ issues in the military have been featured on CURRENT TV, and her recent novel THE WISHING HEART won first place in the paranormal category of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards, and will be debuting with Entangled Teen. She continues to work towards giving a voice to LGBTQ stories, while facing magic and monsters along the way.