Today we’re interviewing Karina L. Fabian, author of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, a novel about Vern, a cynical dragon living on the wrong side of the Interdimensional Gap and working off a geas by St. George as a professional problem solver and agent of the Faerie Catholic Church.
In this case, he and his partner, Sister Grace, a High Mage of the Faerie Catholic Church, have been asked by the Church to chaperone a few dozen Faerie citizens at a Mensa convention. Should be a cushy job, right? Not when pixies start pranking, Valkyries start vamping and a dwarf goes to the equivalent of Disneyworld hoping to be “discovered.” Environmentalists protest Vern’s “disrupting the ecosystem,” while clueless tourists think he’s animatronic. When the elves get high on artificial flavorings and declare war on Florida, it turns into the toughest case they’d not get paid for.
Sounds like fun? You’ll have to learn more about it at the book’s website, and then buy the book.
Jane: So, why a dragon as a private investigator?
Karina: The idea came after watching a film noir parody on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” I was looking for a unique take on dragons, and thought, “I could do that!” The first story, “DragonEye, PI” appeared in Firestorm of Dragons (DragonMoon Press, 2007). I really enjoyed parodying the noir style, and Vern is a joy to write. The mysteries themselves are plays off old movies or twists on myths, which are a lot of fun.
Jane: Doesn’t that make stakeouts tough?
Karina: LOL. Actually, since he’s not that much larger than a human — a lot of him is neck and tail — he can hide better than you think. He also has natural stealth, being a predator, and a very nice stealth charm that his partner, Sister Grace, made for him. There are advantages to having a mage on the team.
Jane: What about Vern’s “dragoninity” makes him a good foil for our humanity? How are his dragon traits going to resonate off your human readers?
Karina: Vern is a superior being stuck in a situation that makes him inferior in many ways. He remembers what he was, so he’s got attitude, and he’s still resentful of what he’s lost. He’s also on the outside looking in, in a lot of ways. Thus, he’s full of judgments and snappy observations about human behavior. However, he’s learning first-hand about all the beauty of humanity, too.
As far as reader reaction: a lot of folks have told me that they adore Vern, for all his cranky sarcastic style — or is it because of it? Some believe they see a conversion story in Vern, and one reviewer said he identifies with my snarky 12-foot drake detective.
Jane: Or did you intend this for dragon readers?
Karina: I’m not sure how Vern’s kin will react to the story. Most have a “Sorry for you, but so glad it wasn’t me” attitude about Vern’s battle with St. George.
Jane: How does faith resonate within this story? It’s not a specifically religious story, correct?
Karina: It surprises me how many people see a religious element in this story. I didn’t intend it, for all that I have a nun and dragon in the employ of the Faerie Catholic Church. However, faith is a very integral part of their world, just as I think it is for a lot of people in reality, and so I show it. (After all, can you really tell a story with a nun without her praying at least once?)
Dragons are immortal, so their souls are different from ours. Vern is the only Catholic dragon, and then it’s more of an exercise than a spiritual necessity. Not that he doesn’t have faith and a spiritual relationship with God; it’s just that in natural circumstances, it’s very different from that of humans. Vern has a complicated relationship with the Church. On the one hand, St. George trapped him, took away his powers and coerced him into service in order to earn them back. On the other hand, he’s has a very interesting time of it (being immortal, dragons value novelty), he’s made some terrific friends (especially Grace), and he’s come to see that there’s some reason for his being there.
Jane: What’s the toughest part of writing from a dragon’s POV?
Karina: Keeping him from being too human. My husband, Rob, will call me on it, when I start taking him down the road to humanity. It’s much more interesting if I stay away from that. In Live and Let Fly, he takes human form temporarily, and it was great fun to have him experience all the human feelings with a dragon personality.