Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post by Shawn Thomas Odyssey - The Wizard of Dark Street

Today we are joined by Shawn Thomas Odyessey - author of The Wizard of Dark Street. Shawn has written a guest post for us for the Teen Book Scene book tour. His book, The Wizard of Dark Street, looks great so make sure to check it out!


Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard's apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.

Despite possessing the rare gift of Natural Magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case, she is determined to prove that logic can be just as powerful as wizardry. But when someone attacks her uncle--the Wizard of Dark Street--Oona is forced to delve even deeper into the world of magic.

Full of odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end. -Goodreads


One of the curious things about writing a mystery novel set in a magical world is that, as a writer, your job is double duty.  You must build a watertight plot, where some crime has taken place, while simultaneously exposing the reader to the unfamiliar territory in which the misdeed has happened. 
A delicate balance must be struck between world-building and story advancement.  For instance, in a classic mystery novel, one that takes place in our everyday world, the reader is already familiar with what is and isn’t possible.  They can be reasonably sure that, despite the fact that the victim is found stabbed to death in a locked room, the murderer most certainly did not commit the crime and then teleport themselves out of the room with a snap of their fingers.  The reader would instead reason that the culprit must have entered the room through the window, the door, or perhaps the ventilation shaft or chimney.  Once the point of exit was deduced, the question would then be: who, when, and why?
When dealing with a magical setting, however, certain rules must be set up to give the reader a sense of what magic can and cannot do.  For instance, can someone be killed by magic?  Can anyone do magic?  Is it possible to teleport, and if so, would the criminal have been able to teleport the murder weapon along with themselves out of the room?  These questions must be answered along the way in order to establish a sense of logical deduction so that whatever crime has taken place, the crime solver and reader will be able to logically piece the events together, no matter how fantastical those events would be if they had happened in our everyday, mundane world.  It also provides the reader with a deeper sense of this new, if not somewhat abstract, world.
While the scenario I just provided does not occur in The Wizard of Dark Street, I faced an even more perplexing mystery that happened in a room full of suspects, and I was presented with the constant and wonderfully challenging predicament of riding the line between reason and the fantastical, and constructing a plausible yet outrageous alternate reality to play it all out in.  Indeed, when asked about the major themes of the book, I find one theme that I’m consistently drawn to is the relationship between that which is rational and that which is intuitive, or even supernatural; a balance that often seems impossible to achieve in a very practical world, yet can be found if one only learns how to look for it.  For when writing a novel, and a mystery novel in particular, that balance must be struck, and when it’s done just right, the results can be truly magical.
The Wizard of Dark Street is released on July 26th, 2011 in bookstores nationwide and online in both hardback and eBook formats.
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