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Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. The past haunts the place and the future always feels a little suspect. I like to call it a sampler city—a little bit of everything, but not too much of anything. Except history, of course. We have lots of history. Bright shiny skyscrapers sit next to brick warehouses next to brownstone townhouses next to wooden apartment buildings next to three century old graveyards.
It was the perfect place to set my Connor Grey series. Over the centuries, Boston has had to absorb waves of immigrants from all over the world. Why not elves and fairies, too? In Connor’s world, a mysterious event known as Convergence occurred a century ago that brought beings from Faerie—the fey—into our world. The fey divide themselves among the Celtic fairies ruled over by High Queen Maeve and the Teutonic elves ruled by Donor Elvenking. The two groups have been bickering ever since, blaming each other for Convergence and jockeying for power among the human governments. Many fey, tired of the lingering animosities from Faerie, left Europe like so many before them and settled in America. Boston made a perfect home to build their world.
Connor Grey used to be someone important—a high-level druid investigator with the Guild, charged with investigating fey crimes. One fateful night, he lost his abilities in a showdown with a terrorist elf at a nuclear power plant. He lost everything—his job, his friends and, to his mind, his life. Now he lives in the Weird, the Boston neighborhood wherever the lower-rungs of the fey and human world end up when they have nowhere else to go. All cities have a reputation for danger at some level, and that’s exactly what makes them great places to set stories. The Weird is as much a character in the series as the people in it are. It’s a place of mystery and violence, murder and drugs.
Connor sees through all that to the people who live, work and play there—whether its his hot archivist girlfriend Meryl who’s more than a match for him or his crime-solving partner Murdock who manages to keep his cool and his faith in the face of tragedy or his drunken best friend Joe, a twelve-inch tall fairy who cuts Connor down to size at every opportunity. Taken together, they help him see the glimmers of hope that maybe someday things will be better, even for the runaways, the street workers and anyone who doesn’t fit easily into the world. And while things do get worse for Connor from book to book, he does find things that give him hope—and surprises himself by finding love, too.
Through Connor’s eyes, I get to show a Boston that’s pretty cool. I get to play with big ideas like what it means to live for centuries and smaller details like what kind of night clubs fairies hang out in. Oh, and I get to almost destroy the world with disasters that only one man—Connor Grey—can stop.
The Connor Grey series consists of Unshapely Things, Unquiet Dreams, Unfallen Dead and Unperfect Souls. The newest title, Uncertain Allies, comes out April 26, 2011. The Laura Blackstone series is set in Washington in the same Convergent World and begins with Skin Deep and Face Off. You can visit my website www.markdelfranco.com for more information, including free first chapters.
- Mark Del Franco
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