Today I am interviewing Laurence MacNaughton, author of the new urban fantasy novel, It Happened One Doomsday.
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DJ: Hey Laurence! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Laurence MacNaughton: I’m an urban fantasy author, and It Happened One Doomsday is the start of my brand-new series. I’ve also written a couple of supernatural thrillers (Conspiracy of Angels and The Spider Thief). I’ve been writing ever since I found an old black manual typewriter as a kid, and I haven’t stopped yet.
DJ: What is It Happened One Doomsday about?
LM: It’s about a nerdy crystal shop owner who must discover her magic to break the curse on a hunky muscle-car mechanic before he causes a fiery doomsday.
Publishers Weekly calls it “fascinating.” Library Journal calls it “engaging.” RT Book Reviews says it’s “a terrific new find.” To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for this much attention. I’m just glad people enjoy reading it!
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
LM: Dru is the bookish owner of The Crystal Connection, a sorcery shop that sells potions, charms, and enchanted crystals. The “real” sorcerers don’t give Dru any respect, but she has hidden potential that they don’t know about.
Greyson is a street-smart mechanic afflicted with an apocalyptic curse. At any moment, he could transform into a horrifying creature that will trigger doomsday.
Rane (rhymes with “pain”) is Dru’s best friend. She’s also six feet tall and able to transform into rock or metal just by touching it. Her ‘smash first, ask later’ attitude can make her a potent ally — or a loose cannon.
Opal is Dru’s shop partner and confidante. Her magical know-how (and outrageous fashion sense) are crucial to protecting the world from demons, foul creatures and prowling undead.
DJ: What is the universe of It Happened One Doomsday like?
LM: Dru’s universe (or the “Druniverse” as I like to call it) is just like ours, but monsters are real, and our only defense against them is a handful of sorcerers — rare, gifted people with amazing magic powers.
Dru, the main character, wishes she could be one of them. But she’s not. She is super smart, and she has just a bit of talent with crystals and potions, but she’s not a true sorceress. So she opened a shop, and she spends her days assisting these rock-star sorcerers who don’t give her any respect.
Then, Dru discovers that doomsday is on the way, and she is the only one who can figure out how to stop it. So it’s a total underdog story, told from the perspective of sort of an in-the-know nerd who suddenly has to save the world.
DJ: The first line of the book’s back cover tells us “Can her magic save the world – before his curse destroys it?” This makes me feel very safe in assuming that magic is going to be prevalent in your story. If I am correct, can you explain what your magic system is? And where did you get the idea for it?
LM: It seems like every kind of magic system in Urban Fantasy has been done before. So when I wrote this book, I set out to create something unique.
I’ve always been fascinated by crystals. For example, galena is a dark silvery rock with rough mirror-like edges. Back in ancient Egypt, it was believed to protect against the “evil eye” and so it often decorated the eyes of the pharaohs.
Quartz supposedly cleanses your soul. For that reason, Dan Aykroyd from Ghostbusters uses Herkimer diamonds (an exceptionally clear kind of double-terminated quartz crystals) to purify his vodka.
Rose halite (a chalky pinkish crystal) supposedly dissolves negative patterns in your life. Halite is another name for rock salt, so it not only helps you spiritually, it can also de-ice your sidewalk. Which is kind of funny.
Anyway, I thought: what if I took these metaphysical beliefs in crystals and elevated them to a Harry Potter sort of level?
What if a sorcerer could magnify the reputed effects of these crystals so much that they could actually fight demons, rescue people, and save the world?
That’s the magic in It Happened One Doomsday.
DJ: It Happened One Doomsday also deals with “demons, foul creatures, and other forces of darkness.” Is there anything special about these demons? Where do they come from and what do they want?
LM: In this book, the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse all drive possessed muscle cars. Kind of a high-octane version of Stephen King’s Christine. Multiplied by four. And if they all get together on the same road, the world will come to a fiery end.
One of the surprise fan favorites from the book is Hellbringer, a possessed black 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. Dru starts out fighting it, and it nearly kills her. But then she has to figure out what it wants, and how to reason with it – and try to sway it to help save the world instead of destroying it.
I can’t give too much away, but it’s an absolutely riveting relationship to watch as it develops. There’s a chapter titled “The Only Evil You Can Trust” — and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing the It Happened One Doomsday?
LM: I don’t have one favorite part, but writing the car chases was a blast. I’m a former prototype vehicle test driver, so it was thrilling to be able to cut loose with these high-speed chases and make them supernatural.
I also had an incredibly fun time working out all of the minute details about how Dru’s crystal magic works. She’s constantly researching in these old dusty books like the Folio of the Forlorn, The Wicked Scriptures, or The Inscrutable Codex. So I really enjoyed developing all the complex history of that.
But really, my favorite part is the characters. Writing them always feels like coming home.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
LM: The ending. There’s a twist that I guarantee you won’t see it coming, and yet it fits perfectly. Some people have gone absolutely bananas and written to me demanding to know how the second book starts, but I’m sworn to secrecy. One reader just told me, “I’m going to turn to stone waiting for Book Two.”
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing It Happened One Doomsday? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when the story is finally told?
LM: One of the things that makes this book stand out is that it has a cast of strong women who aren’t necessarily super-sexy or crazy-tough. No leather pants, no magic swords, no vampire boyfriends.
They’re just people. Quirky, witty, sympathetic, complex women with larger-than-life problems and magical powers, granted.
But they are so likable, and their friendships with each other are just plain fun to watch. No matter how much they may fight, at the end of the day they are best friends and can depend on each other.
It feels kind of like the end of an old Star Trek episode. Kirk or McCoy makes a little joke about Spock, who quirks an eyebrow, and everyone laughs. And you feel like everything is all right in the universe.
That’s a tremendously good feeling, and a positive message. That’s the feeling I hope people get from It Happened One Doomsday.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from It Happened One Doomsday that you can share with us?
LM: Favorite quotes? Probably this: “It’s all fun and games until someone starts the Apocalypse.”
Or maybe this one: “Who knew this evil flying monkey death car of yours was so sensitive?”
Or possibly this one: “It’s a good thing I’m such a badass.”
But really, I think my favorite line in the entire book is the very first one: “Dru Jasper had no idea that the world was prophesied to come to a fiery end in six days.”
I’ve actually had people tell me that the first line got them hooked, and they couldn’t put it down after that. That’s so fantastic to hear.
DJ: Now that It Happened One Doomsday is released, what is next for you?
LM: At this very moment, I’m writing the sequel to It Happened One Doomsday. I’m so excited about where these characters are heading that I honestly feel like I can’t write it fast enough.
It builds on so many mysteries, and it answers the burning question that absolutely everyone is asking about the end of the first book. At the same time, the second book opens up Dru’s universe in crazy new ways. New magic, new creatures, new challenges, and new secrets that will quite literally rock her world.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Author website: www.LaurenceMacNaughton.com
Author newsletter; with free ebooks, bonus chapters, sneak previews and more free stuff: http://laurencemacnaughton.com/free/
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laurence-MacNaughton/e/B008YIX5HA/
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/LaurenceMacNaughton
Booktrack author page: https://goo.gl/ONkLgw
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about It Happened One Doomsday that we haven’t talked about yet?
LM: Here’s something fun: I’ve also written a short story called MAGIC CARPET RIDE that’s exactly what it sounds like – Dru and her friends rocket across the city on a magic carpet, getting into hilarious trouble. I’m giving it away free to all of my newsletter subscribers at www.LaurenceMacNaughton.com.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
LM: Thanks so much for having me here! It’s been a real pleasure.
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*** It Happened One Doomsday is published by Pyr and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Books-A-Million | Goodreads | Indiebound | iTunes |
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About the Book:
Magic is real. Only a handful of natural-born sorcerers can wield its arcane power against demons, foul creatures, and the forces of darkness. These protectors of the powerless are descendants of an elite order. The best magic-users in the world. Unfortunately, Dru isn’t one of them.
Sure, she’s got a smidge of magical potential. She can use crystals to see enchantments or brew up an occasional potion. And she can research practically anything in the library of dusty leather-bound tomes she keeps stacked in the back of her little store. There, sandwiched between a pawn shop and a 24-hour liquor mart, she sells enough crystals, incense, and magic charms to scrape by. But everything changes the day a handsome mechanic pulls up in a possessed black muscle car, his eyes glowing red.
Just being near Greyson raises Dru’s magical powers to dizzying heights. But he’s been cursed to transform into a demonic creature that could bring about the end of the world. There’s only one chance to break Greyson’s curse and save the world from a fiery Doomsday – and it’s about to fall into Dru’s magically inexperienced hands…
Laurence MacNaughton grew up in a creaky old colonial house in Connecticut that he’s pretty sure was haunted. He’s been a bookseller, printer, copywriter and (somewhat randomly) a prototype vehicle test driver. When he’s not writing, he bikes and hikes the Rocky Mountains, explores ghost towns and wrenches on old cars. His books include It Happened One Doomsday, The Spider Thief, and Conspiracy of Angels. Get free stories, bonus features, and more fun stuff at www.LaurenceMacNaughton.com.