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Today’s guest is fantasy author Nicole Peeler! She is the author of the Jane True series, an urban fantasy set in Maine beginning with Tempest Rising. Jinn and Juice, her latest novel and the first book in a new urban fantasy series, was just released in paperback after an earlier digital release.

Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

I Knew I Wanted to be a Witch When I Grew Up

Well…sort of. I actually knew I wanted to be Diana Tregarde. For those of you not familiar with the character, she’s the hero of a series of books by Mercedes Lackey. I read them when I was very young, after I’d already fallen in love with her hero, Vanyel. But these books were different: I may have loved Vanyel, but I wanted to be Diana Tregarde.

Diana, after all, had so much to admire. She was a witch; a Guardian, tasked by the universe to keep the balance; and a bit of a ninja. She wore leotards and drove fast cars fast and even had a vampire for a boyfriend, way before having a vampire boyfriend was cool.

She also starred in a series of urban fantasy novels, before there was such a genre. Instead, Lackey was just another writer, like Charles deLint, who wrote some fantasy books about mythological stuff in our world. And, while Diana is one of my all time favorite characters, and many other readers have reiterated this opinion to me, according to Lackey they never sold very well.

Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey

But the essence of Diana stuck with me. Decades later I saw elements of her in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse. I also saw that same spirit of storytelling, of contemporary mythmaking, that I also loved in Lackey and deLint, and I knew I really did want to be a witchy woman. A woman who created life out of words and brought succor to those seeking that wonderfully paradoxical combination of escape and enlightenment which is reading fiction.

And so I wrote my own book, and then I wrote more. They’re about magical women doing amazing things, and I am proud of them.

Maybe I did grow up to be a witch, after all.

Nicole PeelerNicole Peeler writes urban fantasy and is an associate professor at Seton Hill University, where she co-directs their MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. Having recently finished her award-winning Jane True series, her latest book is Jinn and Juice, the first book in a series about a cursed jinni living in Pittsburgh, out this month from Orbit. Nicole also lives in Pittsburgh, although she’s neither cursed nor a jinni.

Photo Credit: Robert Trudeau