How My Biological Background Informed My Urban Fantasy World

A quote that reads "Science is a 
self-correcting process of discovery, 
not a collection of facts."

‘Write what you know’ was in the forefront of my mind as I brainstormed the worldbuilding for the book that would become Terrestrial Magic.

But as an undergrad in a molecular biology program some ten years ago (now a PhD graduate), I’d puzzled over how to use my scientific background to inform the genre I wanted to write: urban fantasy. I wanted an aspect of adventure in the forefront, rather than setting a large part of the story in a lab . Which left me thinking of ways to incorporate some kind of field work. Legendary creatures were a natural worldbuilding element to incorporate, one that allowed me to crosslink biology with fantasy by having my protagonist use science to study magical animals.

That left me with the decision for how science would inform the details of the story. A lot of the inaccuracies I see in the portrayal of science in the media stem from a misunderstanding of the basics. Science is a self-correcting process of discovery, not a collection of facts.

A quote that reads "The heart of this series 
is about assumptions 
getting tested, 
about finding out more than 
we knew before."

This made me want to focus on portraying the generalities of science. Research as an exploration of the unknown. The way that scientists might think through their problems. How logical and detail-oriented thoughts might come through in the narration.

The scientific process is also slower than people usually assume–although 2020 might have changed some of those expectations. As such, in the beginning of the series, I mix the science happening in the background with plot problems that can move more quickly. The characters need time to advance their research, and maybe a plan to harness magic to expedite the process, before they can discover any answers to the series’ biggest questions.

The heart of this series is about assumptions getting tested, about finding out more than we knew before. Every aspect of the story is informed by the role that discovery plays in it. And that’s all because of how much the scientific process was on my mind as I was building this world.

Terrestrial Magic and Natural Sorcery are part of the Jordan Sanders urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic series.

The covers of two books--Terrestrial Magic and Natural Sorcery.

Natural Sorcery: First Chapter Preview and Pre-Order

cropped-natural-sorcery_paperback-3.jpg

Pre-orders for Natural Sorcery are now up. The book will release on April 23rd as an ebook.

Chapter One

The sun beat down over expansive, even fields that stretched out towards a background of rocky hills. Farmlands were not my thing, so I couldn’t identify the various crops that were laid out in rows before me. Not that I had any business doing so, or even being here. I should have been out in the uncultivated wilds, conducting my research far away from where the food production happened—the legendary animals (called legimals) that I was interested in weren’t exactly a welcome sight here.

Instead, I found myself in the passenger seat of a pick-up as Tony parked it past a gated entrance, in front of a couple of small buildings. The oppressively hot air greeted me when I climbed out of the car, a layer of sweat appearing over my skin almost instantaneously.

Ah, the joys of Mediterranean summers. Continue reading “Natural Sorcery: First Chapter Preview and Pre-Order”

Natural Sorcery is Coming: Blurb Reveal

A woman with water supernaturally rising around her. The text reads "Rome was supposed to be safe...That was before the local legends started using their magic."

Rome was supposed to be safe–or at least safer than 90% of the planet. That was before the local legends started using their magic to destroy the food supply. 

Considered one of Rome’s experts on legends, mostly because she keeps surviving their assassination attempts, Jordan finds herself racing to find the culprits before they strike again. But legends wield powers that aren’t documented, understood, or predictable. And Jordan isn’t even a soldier. She’s just some scientist unlucky enough to stumble over the local political mess. 

The chances of getting murdered by magic beyond her comprehension is disconcertingly high. But if this unknown legend goes unchecked, Rome won’t survive the next few years…and Jordan doesn’t have it in her to walk away from that.

Cover Reveal for Natural Sorcery, Sequel to Terrestrial Magic

A woman surrounded by magically floating water, in front of a stone wall. Text reads "Natural Sorcery, Marina Ermakova."

Natural Sorcery, the next book in the Jordan Sanders series, will be up for pre-order soon, and here’s the first of the promotional materials I’ll be making available. Next will be the blurb. And once the pre-order goes live, I’ll post the first chapter as well.

Please note that publication of the print version will be indefinitely delayed–given current circumstances, I’m just not comfortable using the supply chains for that yet.

The ebook version will likely be out near the end of April. I’m putting it on sale for an undetermined amount of time, also because of current circumstances. The price will go up eventually.

More information to come soon.