Enjoy a Romp with Vern, the Dragon PI, and his side kick Grace, a nun in the Faerie Catholic Church. Karina Fabian has created an imaginative world based on the Catholic religion, myth, fairy tales, and quantum theory principles thrown in for good measure. When Vern and Grace chaperon the contingent from the Faerie world at the Mensa World Gathering in Florida, anything can happen and does. Vern has his hands full with a stage-struck Dwarf, invisible brownies, and a variety of romantic tangles. The book is full of interesting supporting characters: Brunhilde the Valkyrie, Coyote the Native American trickster, High Elves, and even some interesting Mundanes, those humans living on the non-magical side of the Gap. Vern is a likable character who carries the action of the book. Although the mystery is a bit too mundane to exercise his prodigious talents, his antics coupled with amusing puns make the book well worth reading for a chuckle or two.
I asked Karina a few questions about the fun she had writing Magic, Mensa & Mayhem.
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is loaded with engaging characters. Which character is your favorite and why?
That's a tough one. Vern and Grace are of course, my all-time favorites, but for supporting characters, I'd have to say "Coyote." He's got no shame and a great sense of fun, and annoys Vern to no end. It's also fun to see how many dog-like attributes I can give him and still make him a chick magnet!
Religion is an important part of your writing. Why did you decide to mesh fantasy with religion and how satisfactory is it?
Actually, I didn't decide to mesh religion and fantasy. It just sort of happened. In the first DragonEye, PI story ("Dragon Eye, PI" in Firestorm of Dragons), I needed a reason for Vern to be a cynical down-on-his-luck dragon. St. George seemed a good fall guy for it. Where you have a saint, you have to have a Church, so the Faerie Church came into being as deep background. Then Sister Grace appeared as Vern's new partner in "Amateurs," and things took off from there.
I'm both surprised and pleased at how the mix is working. In Faerie, the Church exercises a political as well as religious leadership, which is going to make for some fun conflict later in the series.
However, these stories are about mysteries, fun, twisting clichés to the limit and the complexities of human (and nonhuman) lives. No one should be picking up a DragonEye, PI story expecting (or hoping for) a faith message. Like my publisher says, "These books are about some Catholics, but they aren't Catholic."
You've built a very attractive world in Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. What are some thoughts you have on world building and how to maintain consistency?
My worlds tend to grow with the characters and the stories. I keep a glossary of creatures, characters, and places, plus I have a timeline for the stories. Ironically, the timeline eluded me until I started ordering stories by the ages of the children of one of the minor characters. That probably tells you a lot about how I think.
There's a glossary in the back of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, and I'll post one on my DragonEye, PI, website...when I have the time... At some point, I should get someone to write the world up for me, like they did for Star Wars or Harry Potter. The Compleat Guide to the Faerie and Mundane. Gotta sell the stories first, though.
What made you decide on a mystery for your latest book?
Since Vern's a dragon detective, mysteries are a must. I'd never intended to write mysteries, frankly. It's been an interesting experience, learning how to fit the clues, keep the progression. I watched a lot of noir films. For the next book, Live and Let Fly, I'm spoofing super-spy movies, so I immersed myself in Bond flicks. Such a tough life, being a writer.
What was your favorite/ least harrowing part of the publishing process for this book? Tell us a little about your experience with Swimming Kangaroo.
I've had one of those dream experiences working with Dindy. We met at the MuseOnline writers conference. She was critiquing stories as a workshop, and I'd sent her "Amateurs." She asked if I had anything else, and I'd been working on a serial mystery for the North Dakota Mensa newsletter, The Prairie Dawg, which I thought would novelize easily. She liked the idea and I had a contract!
I had two terrific editors: Linda Anderson for content and Jennifer Walker for copyedit. You can read their interviews April 16 and April 23 on www.dragoneyepi.net. They caught a lot of errors and taught me a few things about my writing style that have made me a better writer.
Dindy let me have a big say in the cover art--one reason it ran a little late--and we found a talented artist Roe Mesquita who worked very hard to please me.
The only thing that could make this more idyllic is for B&N to stock it--and that's going to depend on you, readers. Since Swimming Kangaroo is so small, they will only put it on the shelves if people go to them and ask for it. Or, forget the big conglomerates and get everyone to purchase it from Swimming Kangaroo: http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/44mmm.html (It's on Amazon, too, (and in Kindle format), but it really does help the publisher if you buy it direct.)
6. Any closing thoughts?
Just that if you like dragons, mystery and satire, I invite you to join the DragonEye, PI website by registering at www.dragoneyepi.net. In April, I'm giving away the story "Amateurs" to members, plus you get the DragonEye newsletter, A Dragon's Eye View.
Thank you so much for the interview and the compliments on Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. I had a great time writing the book and look forward to many more adventures with Vern and Sister Grace!
Title: Magic, Mensa & Mayhem
Author: Karina Fabian
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo
Released: Marc h 2009
Retail Price: $13.99 (print- US) 11.99 pounds (print – UK)
Available soon from Ingrams, Amazon and Kindle