Maria Lima is a writing geek with one foot in the real world and the other in the make-believe. Her role models include Tanya Huff, Joss Whedon, Christopher Golden and Charles de Lint amongst many others. Her love of reading began with discovering Scholastic Books in the first grade, and her love of storytelling from her father’s dinnertime tales of derring-do. In this was mixed a love of both fictional and non-fictional worlds, of history and splendor, dragons and them that slayed ‘em. It’s no wonder that she grew up composing stories.
Let’s face it, no one (or few someones) dives head first into new waters without testing them first, right? Is the water too hot? too cold? just right? We’re all Goldilocks in our own ways, putting out a hesitant toe before we take the plunge.
It’s the same with genre fiction for me. Many many years ago, I stumbled across this book called Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. Sounded kind of interesting. Sort of. Vampire slayer butt-kicking woman hero type name of Anita Blake. Kind of a modern day Dracula? Maybe. Several friends recommended it.
I didn’t buy the book that first day as I still wasn’t quite sold on the concept. It had things I liked: a strong female protagpnist, action/adventure, mystery, and well, my gateway drug…vampires. I’d gotten precious few of them over the years since I’d first stumbled upon Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a kid. My book buying buddy and I would scour the scant horror shelves at our local Borders for anything new, anything that would feed our need.
I’d already devoured all of Tanya Huff’s Vicky Nelson series, which punched all my vampire-loving squee buttons. Then, thank goodness, she wrote the Shadow books (a spinoff series), and I’d gleefully shell out for the hardcovers the moment they appeared on the shelves.
After horror, I’d spend another hour or so picking through the young adult shelves, as fantasy type novels often appeared there. I discovered Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder and countless others who fed the monkey on my shoulder.
I finally succumbed to Anita Blake, and far too quickly enmeshed myself in the then 8 or 9 books that Laurell had out. I was becoming impatient, inconsolable. The drug wasn’t doing its job. Vampire books alone, not even the awesome ones I was reading, were doing the trick.
What else was there?
As the next couple of years passed, I began to see more and more book covers that hinted of new tastes, new temptations. They beckoned in a seductive “come hither”. I began to hear the term “urban fantasy” bandied about. I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television (okay, yeah, I was late!) and, for a brief time, my need was slaked.
Then the market exploded. Urban fantasy: get your red-hot vampires here, readers. All types. Dark, broody ones. Light-hearted humorous ones. Even ones that sparkle. The sky–no, the universe–is the limit! Oh, and by the way, as long as you’re here reading, how about trying our other offerings? We’ve got shapeshifters, werewolves, the fae–pretty much any creature your pounding heart desires. And it’s all waiting for you. Right here, between the pages.
I was hooked. Every last bit of me. THIS. This is what I’d been craving. That small taste of vampire fiction had done its job. Not only did I read the books, I wrote ‘em. I wanted to make my own stories, tell my own tales.
So yeah, a gateway drug? Pretty much. But then again, I suppose that could be said about all books, right?
Web site: www.marialima.com
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