DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE are about a criminal profiler, Tara Sheridan, who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. These books are a mash-up of science and magic – similar to Fringe and the X-Files. Tara’s a reluctant member of an ancient society of oracles tracing their lineage back to the Oracle of Delphi. In ROGUE ORACLE, Tara and her skeptic partner Harry Li are on the trail of a Chernobyl survivor who’s selling nuclear secrets on the international black market.
I’ve used Tarot cards as story prompts before, but it was a lot of fun to give a heroine a supernatural power associated with them. Tara makes connections between the images on the cards and the world around her, and I enjoy getting into her head as she works through a mystery. Tara was inspired, in particular, by the Queen of Swords card.
What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a hidden supernatural world existing beneath our own. Urban Fantasy allows me to explore the “what if’s”: What if a criminal profiler turned to Tarot card divination? What if a dragon lived in the salt mine beneath Detroit? What if the future could be told through the use of magic…and how would we try to change what we saw?
I like the fact urban fantasy is wide open. I’m not bound by many conventions as far as structure or the ending…UF doesn’t require the story to follow a fixed pattern. I can allow the story to unfold and let it be unpredictable as it develops.
Do you have any tips for new writers?
Stick with it. Persistence is important: persistence in keeping the butt in the chair, finishing manuscripts, revising, submitting…it’s all about determination. It’s easy to get disillusioned, but the key thing is to keep working through it.
I also recommend that writers try National Novel Writing Month at least once. It really helped me integrate writing into my daily life and improved my productivity. And the sense of community is unbeatable.
Are you working on another book?
I also write as Laura Bickle. In fall, my first YA book will be released by Houghton Mifflin’s Graphia line. It’s called THE HALLOWED ONES, and it’s pitched as “WITNESS meets 28 DAYS LATER.” It’s a thriller about an Amish girl who must confront not only a massive disaster unfolding in the world outside her community, but also the threat of darkness in her own increasingly fragile society. I’m working on the sequel now, and that will be released the following spring
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
I’d love to! An excerpt of DARK ORACLE is available here: http://laurabickle.com/dark-oracle/?action=excerpt
Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?
Nothing intimidates me more than a blank page. A blank page suggests a point a thousand miles away from where I want to be. It’s formless and paralyzing.
Who is your favorite author?
My all-time favorite is Robin McKinley’s HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist who slew her own dragons. I was hooked.
Other favorites include: Ann Aguirre, Lauren DeStefano, Elizabeth Bear, Jeri Smith-Ready, and MLN Hanover.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Building worlds. When I start, the page is blank. When I’m finished, it feels as if I’ve conjured something from nothing, a real world with characters and moving parts. It’s really exhilarating to watch it take shape.
Where can your readers reach you?
I can be found on my website, www.laurabickle.com. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.