Making magic in fiction is a tricky endeavor. If you make it too real, it doesn’t feel magical. If you make it too imaginative, you lose believability and you have trouble being consistent. Fortunately there are lots of ways to season your magic with enough reality to give it life. Here’s how I did it.
Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic begins my first series in which Colleen Underhill has stepped outside the boundaries of normality. She is still attached to the regular life in which she grew up, but she just can’t return to it. With a seemingly harmless introduction to what she thinks is an imaginary world, everything she thought she understood is turned upside-down. Before the day ends, she is dragged into SPRU, a secret university for people with powers like hers. And they won’t let her leave. The magical community is called The Convergence. They are exclusive, secretive, and very protective of their privacy.
I based the supernatural actions of The Convergence series on loose interpretations of physics and String Theory. But I didn’t start out that way. I’m not a big physics buff, but it’s a passion of my hubby’s. Combined with his adoration for comic books, I have a dependable and knowledgeable resource for what to write and what not to write about supernatural forces. In the early stages of writing the first book, I talked with him about my ideas and my concepts sparked a really cool conversation about everything he was learning about physics. With his coaching, I formulated the rules for the magic in my story.
In Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic, the first book in the series, Colleen plunges into a world of different perception and a hyperawareness of the connections between herself and the world around her. All of the concepts I used are really just my interpretation and then wild flight of fancy based off of what I understood from conversations with my husband and occasional episodes of NOVA.
There are two kinds of energy described in the book: The Tximar is the energy of all living things and the Teimnydd is the energy of those who can wield it, called Teimnydduus. All this energy is interconnected in a universal “tapestry” called the Txenarjuma. The Teimnydduus can perceive the energy and the Txenarjuma and then use it to affect the world around them using individual threads called Txenar. These concepts are based loosely around Quantum Field Theory.
I also included a magical river flowing through the city called the Tximarshu. This was influenced by several different stories I’ve read where characters use ley line energy for magic. I smushed the idea of ley lines and the concept of Tximar together and used it as an element of Colleen’s transformation into a Teimnydduus.
The main character and protagonist, Colleen, reads a stray book that was left in the library and is transformed when its descriptions activate her latent Teimnydd. At a different time in her life, this wouldn’t have been possible, as seen by the fact that her father, the person from whom she inherited the Teimnydd powers, cannot activate them by reading the book.
In addition to the Teimnydd and Tximarshu, Teimnydduus with special training can manipulate “pocket dimensions” which they call Vyxhepiocht. Using this kind of power, Convergence Agents are able to secretly transport Colleen’s gear from her home to her dorm room instantly without arousing the suspicions of the neighborhood with a moving truck. “Pocket Dimensions” and other dimensional concepts come from String Theory also.
More physics-based concepts are represented in the book and I’ve planned more for future volumes in the series. My book isn’t all about the physics, though. There is a lot more involved in changing a person’s whole perception of reality than just the mechanics of the transformation. That’s what I love to write about most. To see how Colleen adjusts to her “magic”, you’ll have to read the book!
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About the author:
Even though Kate Policani wasn’t born in Seattle, Washington, she’s a native at heart. She should have been born here, but some bizarre mistake started her out in the Midwest. That error was rectified, though, and she’s spent more than twenty years in the rainy, gloomy, chilly land where she belongs, loving every minute of it. The long dark days and unwelcoming weather make for the perfect environment to stay inside and write.
A mom of three and therefore a coffee addict, she writes her books over a hot mocha in the rainy season (Fall-Winter-Spring) and an iced mocha during the six weeks of summer. That is, she writes when she isn’t shuttling her progeny to school or youth group or playdates. In a pinch, she writes while she waits to pick the kids up from school, and sometimes even in the middle of the night when the ideas wake her.
Kate has found her footing with her writing and is no longer interested in just writing a few books. The list of ideas is long, so she’ll be cranking out the Sci-fi and Fantasy (and maybe some others) for the long haul.