Urban Fantasy Author Suzanne Johnson on Holidays for Paranormals

Suzanne Johnson is an urban fantasy author who writes for Tor. She also has a terrific urban fantasy blog, Preternatura, where she discusses speculative fiction books, writing, and (in her latest Shop Talk series) publishing. She’s here today to talk about holidays in paranormal stories and to share a bit about her books Royal Street and River Road. She poses some fun questions about the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Anita Blake, and Cat and Bones. And she’s giving away some cool prizes. Details at the end of the post! Welcome, Suzanne!

urban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, Royal Streeturban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, River RoadIn my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays

We’ve been going through a lot of holidays the last few months—Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter….

As an author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as an avid paranormal-fiction reader, I’m always interested in how (or if) holidays are treated in our favorite books.

Do the Black Dagger guys paint Easter eggs for baby Nalla? (I totally want to read that!) Does Anita Blake sit down with her 2,375 men for Thanksgiving dinner and, uh, “dessert”? Do Cat and Bones hang up Christmas stockings and fill them with silver bullets and knives?

Usually, we ignore the holidays in our books, or brush past them. But in my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays. Because nobody does a holiday like my favorite city. (I mean, have you heard of Naked Bike Ride Day? And did you know there was a PARADE for that? I’m still having nightmares.)

In River Road, everyone’s hunkiest shapeshifter Alex Warin decides to throw a combination Halloween party/housewarming, complete with costumes. Against her better judgment, DJ lets her loup-garou friend Jake talk her into going as Red Riding Hood to his Big Bad Wolf. The undead pirate Jean Lafitte was ready to go as himself, until he learned it was Alex’s party and he wasn’t invited. (Bah to “le petit chien.”) DJ’s friend Eugenie and her creepy, mysterious boyfriend Quince Randolph went as hippies, complete with tie-dyed clothes and Grateful Dead tunes.

In Elysian Fields (coming in August), the story picks up a couple of weeks after the end of River Road, so we get to contend with Thanksgiving. Normally, DJ might be dragged to Picayune, Mississippi, to eat turkey with Alex and Jake’s families, but things are kind of strained on that front by the time Thanksgiving arrives. DJ can’t cook, unless you count reheating pizza. So she’s made plans to spend the holiday hanging out alone in Jean Lafitte’s hotel room at the Monteleone, eating doberge cake and charging movies to his room account (he’s out of town, too). Of course plans have a way of changing…

Now I’m turning my mind toward Christmas, and what kind of chaos and shenanigans my characters could get into. I mean, the Elves are now a major species in the series, so perhaps they could help Santa…unless Santa himself is an Elf. And then there’s Twelfth Night, and Mardi Gras, Lundi Gras, and Mardi Gras…And somewhere in there, I think I need to work in Naked Bike Ride Day…

Have you found a “paranormal” holiday that you enjoyed? Leave a comment to win a copy of either Royal Street or River Road (your choice), or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” T-shirt!

More About Royal Street

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.

Where to buy

More About River Road

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Where to buy

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Where to find Suzanne online

River Road and Royal Street Button April May 300 x 225

So, everyone, let us know what holidays you’ve enjoyed reading about. Prizes are your choice of either Royal Street or River Road or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” t-shirt — love it! 😀 Suzanne, thank you for guest blogging today!

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

14 thoughts on “Urban Fantasy Author Suzanne Johnson on Holidays for Paranormals

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I haven’t quite decided how my gang will celebrate Christmas. I might send DJ to visit her grandmother. THAT would be interesting given the developments in Elysian Fields….

  1. Hi Suzanne, just wanted to say thanks again for guest blogging. I know you’ve been pretty busy! Not sure if I ever mentioned but I spent a lot of time in New Orleans as a kid. My dad and step-mom lived in a small town to the west of Kenner. They moved to Tennessee post-Katrina, but we all miss it. Loved the people, the place, the food… the holidays!! Spent some fun times at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop with them and my husband when we were younger. 😀

    Holidays played a big part in Dark Light of Day but they weren’t the traditional holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. I used pagan holidays as my original inspiration and then changed them a bit or added fictional details to make them more “Haljan.” (Halja is the country where the story takes place). I became fascinated with the history of holidays, why people celebrate them, and the symbolism behind them.

    Best wishes for your Sentinels of New Orleans series. Have a great weekend n see you around online!

    1. Thanks, Jill–and thanks for having me here today! I love the idea of using pagan holidays and adapting them for Halja. Now, they just need a Naked Bike Ride Day….or not!

  2. Thanksgiving is looking bad for D.J.? I can hardly wait for Elysian Fields. I am a big fan of the Sentinels series. Have you guys read Royal Street and River Road. If not go get them now. D.J.’s story is a fun read. Wizards do things right. Elysian Fields is out in August.

    1. Thanks, Roger! Yes, Elysian Fields takes place in the 2-3 weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and ends on Thanksgiving Day. DJ had hoped to have a quiet time for her ribs to heal after over-zealous Merman CPR in River Road, but, alas, no. 🙂

  3. I would totally love to see the BDB hiding Easter Eggs for Nalla, lol! Could lead to some bad language, though! And I am SOOOOO thankful that I haven’t seen the Naked Bike Ride parade. So thankful…

    1. LOL, yes, you should be thankful about missing that parade! And don’t you think Rhage might totally eat those Easter eggs before Nalla had a chance to find them? Well, at least one of them.

  4. i loved to see christmas in paranormal romance, i’ve discovered quite a few last december and i enjoyed those^^ the one with vcat and bones is wonderfil and i loved the one with rachel morgan from teh hollow series ^^ so many more to discover… and it can help us to learn about holidays and festivities that are not celebrated in our countries

  5. Love the Easter eggs for Nalla. The best example of Christmas in a paranormal setting I can think of is Dark Celebration. Raven wants to celebrate the human holiday and no magic is allowed to make the meal. The Carpathian men are at a loss. Mashed potatoes are flung from the mixer, flour explodes, the roast burns…each couple has some problem trying to bring their offering to the meal. I thought it was pretty funny and it was a great way to revisit with previous couples and still move the story arc forward.

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