By Andrea Stanet
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Keywords: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Mercenary
Got a problem that needs a kick-ass mercenary to fix it? Merc’s your shapeshifter.
It’s been open season on changelings—human/faery hybrids—until word gets around: someone’s got their backs.
Merc relies on her unique shapeshifting talents to defend the poor and disenfranchised hybrids living on the fringes of a modern-day Hudson valley city. Perhaps her past spurs her to help—orphaned, unable to remember her parents or her original form, forced to survive alone until a kindly Changeling couple takes her in. But Merc also dreams of escaping the poverty and rescuing her boyfriend from the environment that feeds his addictions.
Dúl, a mysterious and seductive full-blooded fey, seems to offer Merc the way out. But the job he proposes will plunge her into the political wasp nest of the Dreaming World and its fey courts. Dúl hires her to rescue the female lieutenant of the Shadow Court’s king. But Morgan isn’t the only full-blood that’s disappeared.
Nothing is what it seems. A hidden player is capitalizing on the animosities within the four courts, and Merc must solve the puzzle before anyone else falls victim. Her investigation exposes the web of betrayals and lies ambushing the courts from without, or maybe from within.
No one could defeat this conspiracy alone. Merc must suppress her solitary nature and learn to work with a team, while Dúl enters into a bitter alliance with his most hated enemy. Amid this treachery, the magnetic attraction between Merc and Dúl deepens into a forbidden bond they are powerless to deny.
Even if she unravels the chaos plaguing the Dreaming, can she handle the truth about the full-blood she’s fallen for?
Why Andrea Writes Contemporary Fantasy
My experience of writing a story is different each time I sit down at the keyboard. For some stories, I plan and consider multiple aspects of the story before I type the first word onto the page. Other times, I just write and see what comes out, and then make lots of adjustments to a complete draft. When I’m in planning mode, one of the aspects I look at is genre—does the story I want to tell work best as a horror, realistic fiction, or steampunk? For Umbra’s Shadow, I didn’t plan to write a contemporary fantasy; it just worked out that way.
I knew I wanted an adventure feel to the story and for Merc to be a real badass. She needed to experience a world outside of her norm, and I thought of my own travels to different places—how fun it was to go to the Bahamas as a teenager and how vastly different the islands were from New York City. Even going to Buffalo, NY and crossing into Canada was like visiting another world. Merc didn’t have to exist solely in a fantasy world to have those kinds of experiences. Plus, it’s always fun to imagine bringing magic, shapeshifting, or dragons into the ‘real world.’
I also wanted to address certain real-world issues in this story—domestic violence, drug addiction, sexism, and taking one’s first independent steps into the adult world. Those themes would have made for a very dark story so I wanted to soften that effect. Fantasy gave me the flexibility to balance the realistic elements while retaining some of the grit of the contemporary side. So I blended the genres.
Genre blending appeals to me, especially when starting without a prompt or specific submission requirements. There have been times when I said to my husband or writing buddies, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do…” and I’d end up with dystopian zombies and dragons. I’ve had disastrous outcomes, but sometimes, the combinations work out. While contemporary fantasy isn’t that great of a stretch as a blended genre, ended up being the right category for this particular story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A dream stalker, shadow man, vengeful steampunk siren, ghost, and now fey court intrigue—while Andrea Stanet doesn’t shy away from any genre, her passion is writing fantasy and horror fiction for various age groups. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and an online literary magazine. Her most recent releases are “The Tradition,” a middle grade horror about were-crows, and “Song of Vengeance,” about a young performer whose father traps her dying spirit in a mechanical bird.
When not fixating on dragons and zombies, Andrea’s hobbies include running (clearly displaying masochistic tendencies), cycling (hills are only fun when going down), reading (anything and everything), and gaming (Cthulhu themed board games are favorites). Andrea lives in New York with her husband, two kids, a cat that thinks she’s a dog, and another cat that thinks he’s a mountain lion.
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