I just found out that the artist who agreed to paint a cover for Matchbox Girls has a little girl of his own. Coincidentally, Matchbox Girls is about some little girls. I do wonder if the two are related
Everybody knows people change when they have children. Before I had a kid, I thought that some of the changes were just in lifestyle– it’s harder to jet out for dinner and a movie with an infant, after all. And the rumors of some of the other changes frightened me. Hormones, supposedly, would change my entire personality and completely reshuffle my priorities.
This didn’t happen. At least, not the way I envisioned it. I still valued all the same things I’d valued before. I still disliked a lot of the same things I’d disliked before. Change crept in mostly in places where I was previously neutral. Things that would previously be nothing but background noise can now upset me or reduce me to sentimental tears. Some things got nudged down the priority list, or moved fractionally lower on the dislike list, but I didn’t suddenly love poopy diapers, children screaming in public, or messy houses. It’s just that new stuff got added to both lists, and the ripples were felt all over the place.
So yeah, parenthood changes you.
For the most part urban fantasy provides a landscape where the reader can identify with being young, powerful, attractive and unattached. ‘Sexy’ is a word often used to describe a new UF novel. It’s a pretty safe landscape. Who doesn’t want to follow along with the adventures of a supernatural badass as she interacts with tons of other supernatural sexy badasses?
Parenthood doesn’t show up much in these books. Kids don’t either, especially those who are too small to be useful and too big to be worn in a papoose on your back. Kids are many things but they don’t lend themselves to books described as ‘sexy’. As any new parent can tell you, kids are nature’s favorite mood killer.
Matchbox Girls is about a young woman who unexpectedly acquires a pair of little girls. She subsequently does her best to protect and guide them, in the face of some very tough opposition. It’s still an urban fantasy, so there’s lots of magic, supernatural entities and asskicking. There’s attractive guys. There’s good friends. And there’s even a few bits that I consider sexy.
But it’s also, fundamentally, a novel about parenthood. I don’t think it could be otherwise, written as it was during the first three years of my own child’s life. It’s my hope that, while nothing will replace the charm of traditional urban fantasy, Matchbox Girls will tickle the same place in other people that it came from in me.
I just put The Incredibles in for my little guy to watch, and laughed. In a way, that’s exactly what Matchbox Girls is: The Incredibles of urban fantasy. And I really do hope people enjoy it when it comes out in February.
Next time: Matchbox Girls didn’t consciously start out as a novel about parenthood. It started out as a novel about sisters.