It’s a real pleasure today to hand over the reins of Being Anne to author and friend, Virginia King. This isn’t the first time she’s stepped in and offered to fill some blog space when life has become a little more difficult. The last time was after I lost my dad, and was finding blogging something of a challenge while moving mum from the family home – you’ll find that post, a review of Madam Tulip by David Ahern, here. And once more, she’s come to my rescue with a post that required minimal input from me – a guest post, with giveaway, that she’s called Women’s Fiction Goes Woo-woo. Many, many thanks Virginia – and over to you…
As a follower of Being Anne’s blog, you’re an avid reader of women’s fiction in its many forms – the struggles and the humour, the mysteries and the dramas, the disasters and the wins – as each protagonist embarks on her unique emotional journey to overcome life’s obstacles and discover her place in the world.
In some books she’s touched by the supernatural, either ‘real’ or imagined.
Why do some authors of women’s fiction with modern settings expose their characters to ‘woo-woo’ encounters?
What does this ‘magic realism’ bring to a woman’s emotional journey?
A hint of the supernatural in an everyday context makes our heroine’s situation feel more immediate and acute. It can generate extra layers of psychological intrigue and emotional tension as she’s thrown onto her wits to understand what’s going on. The unknown nature of these occurrences evokes such a frisson of raw feeling in the reader that the surreal is made more real by our deep emotional connection to her predicament.
In many ways, a little bit of magic renders a story bigger than its ordinary human themes.
Supernatural events can be a smokescreen for hidden truths. Is the main character having hallucinations? What do they reveal about her state of mind or motivations she’s unaware of? Does she have a psychic gift that creates signposts for her journey? The otherworldly encounters may be signalling long-buried secrets or echoes from the past that mirror present-day events. These ‘woo-woo messages’ can be stepping stones just as valid as more tangible events.
I’ve joined with fellow authors Rachel Dacus and Stephanie Alexander, who also use ‘magic realism’ in their women’s fiction, to share our reasons for being attracted to the haunting and the wondrous –- and what readers are saying about our books.
Enter to win e-copies of all three books below.
Rachel Dacus: The Invisibles
The Invisibles is the story of Saffron and Elinor, half-sisters and lifelong frenemies, who inherit their father’s cottage on the Italian coast. One sister sees a phantom poet who shares their villa. Will they reconcile at last? They’ll need the help of Italy’s beauty and culture, two intriguing men, and even the ghost himself to fix their broken sisterhood.
Reader review: “This book is a romance in the truest sense of the word: a long, complex story to be savored fireside.”
I’m intrigued by stories with an otherworldly touch, asking my characters to face unique challenges. Getting friendly guidance from a ghost or falling through the folds of time aren’t your everyday experiences and can bring out heroic qualities. I’m finishing my third novel, another in the time travel series. I also write poetry and try to imbue my stories with lyrical prose.
Stephanie Alexander: Charleston Green
Heroine Tipsy Collins is a reluctant clairvoyant, but she’s also a mother of three, an ex-wife, and a frustrated artistic genius. Tipsy’s rare supernatural power is the quirky lens through which she rebuilds her life after her devastating divorce. She tackles parenting, dating, financial woes, a custody battle, and career challenges with relatable humor and southern charm, all while sharing a haunted mansion with eccentric undead roommates and solving their century-old murder mystery.
“An enchanting novel of a woman finding her way out of a midlife (and mid-death) crisis.” Kirkus Reviews
“Pitch perfect story-telling will leave fans begging for a sequel.” USA Today Bestselling Author Kristy Woodson Harvey
I add speculative elements to all my women’s fiction stories because magic and the supernatural add originality to familiar themes of personal growth, while allowing me to craft deeper metaphorical meaning.
Virginia King: The First Lie (Secrets of Selkie Moon series)
Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. She’s escaped her controlling family to build a new life in Hawaii but strange visions start colliding with her plans and hinting at long-buried secrets. As her reality crumbles around her, Selkie must learn to trust her psychic twinges and question every assumption her life is built upon. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery that takes her around the world. Can she face the lies about her past and embrace the surprising future that is calling her, before time runs out?
“A book that mixes an Australian heroine and a Hawaiian setting with Celtic myth and legend really shouldn’t work – but this one most certainly does. I loved the clever combining and layering of mythical past and magic with present day reality. This book is largely readable as a thriller, but with a depth and unusual slant and perspective that makes it something really different.” Being Anne (read the full review here).
I love folktales! Their timeless motifs give modern stories a depth that resonates with readers today. When I started writing my women’s fiction series, Selkie Moon turned up. Her mother named her after the Celtic seal people, who peel off their skins and dance in human form, giving her psychic gifts. As a thirty-something seminar presenter she travels the world, uncovering secrets tangled up in the local folklore while learning more than a few things about herself.
And with thanks to all three authors (but particularly to Virginia, who’s even running the giveaway for me!), here’s the rafflecopter for the chance to win e-copies of all three books: