When people think about settings for romance, Detroit is one of the last cities to come to mind. My hometown has a rough reputation, and much of it is earned. When I was dreaming up my Urban Arcana series of paranormal romances, though, I never thought twice about using Detroit as the home for elves, witches, werewolves and more. So why is the Motor City such a perfect backdrop?
Metropolitan Detroit’s over 300 year history is rich with industrial success, making it the home of numerous immigrant groups. That diversity could easily include other species. Who’d notice werewolves in Hamtramck (eastern European enclave), djinn in Dearborn (large Middle Eastern populace), or Fae in Corktown? The city is built over salt mines, and salt figures frequently in legend and myth. Now that most of the industry has left, there’s an air of gritty decay. All the abandoned factories full of rusting iron lend ideal settings for supernatural activities. Furthermore police and other city civil servants, understaffed due to budget constraints, often adopt a pragmatic “not my problem” attitude. As long as nobody’s getting hurt, it’s a whole lot easier to look the other way. Why worry about some guy with pointy ears or fangs when he isn’t causing trouble?
And yet, Detroit has positive attributes which often go unsung. There are beautiful parks, where werewolves could shift and run. The dynamic revitalization of the riverfront lends an element of hope and looks to the future. Finally, Detroit boasts a thriving arts culture with world-class museums, music, and restaurants to rival those in any other city. When you put all that together, why wouldn’t the Motor City be a hub for paranormal activity?
My Urban Arcana books, MOTOR CITY FAE, MOTOR CITY WITCH, with more under review by the Carina acquisitions team, are set in Detroit and its suburbs, with occasional forays into the land Underhill, or Faerie. I love being able to mix the two, creating a contrast between the gritty real world and the glittery world of the Fae, but there are similarities, too. Both have political intrigue and are places where monsters exist, and yet both are places where a couple can defeat the bad guys, find their soul-mates, and fall in love.
Cindy Spencer Pape
Also coming in 2011: Steampunk Romances from The Gaslight Chronicles.
March 2011: STEAM & SORCERY
April 2011: PHOTOGRAPHS & PHANTOMS