Guest Post: Magical Forensics

This guest post is part of the 2013 Blogger Book Fair and was written by Sophie Duncan. Her most recent publication is Sacrifice of An Angel.

Magical Forensics

Thanks very much to C.J. for hosting me today as part of the Blogger Book Fair. C. J. asked me to write about the magical forensics my sister and I developed for our book, Sacrifice of An Angel. It is the first book in a new-adult contemporary fantasy series called The Haward Mysteries that mixes the modern British crime drama with magic, demons and all manner of dark arts. I write this series with my twin sister, Natasha Duncan-Drake, and, since we were stepping into murder mystery, one thing we decided to plan out and make consistent from the beginning were the tools our police officer protagonists, Remy and Theo, would have at their disposal to help them solve the crime: i.e. forensics.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been watching CSI since it first graced our screens and I think it has influenced crime drama the world over in the amount of science that is now acceptable and, indeed, expected in the plot of a murder/thriller novel. Since there are two main focuses in our Haward Mystery series, those being the crime itself and magic, and our detectives are part of a task force dealing secretly with magical crimes, we knew from the start that any forensics we were to come up with outside those that exist in our own reality, would be inextricably linked to magic.

Thus, as we developed the plot for our first story, Tasha and I also worked on the rules for magic in our magical Britain, and, more specifically, the rules for our magical forensics. There are many tools available to the modern police force that we hear of every day: DNA, finger prints, blood spatter, ballistics. Given how much already exists, you may think that there is not much room for magical forensics, but we came at the idea from the perspective of the Sorcerous CSIs working with both traditional and magical techniques in a complementary way.

We also considered, what would it be about magic that would be detectable and provide clues to solve the crime. This led us to decide that magic can be split into four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, plus a fifth more complex idea, called Spirit, and that the combination of these elements when anyone works magic leaves a signature much like DNA. Such casting would form a unique, magical fingerprint that, when compared with any magic user’s ‘magical DNA’, could match the spellcaster to the cast.  Even without a comparison profile, with practice, the spectrum of magic can tell a SCSI what type of magic user, either natural, a person with innate magic, or a practitioner, a person who uses magic, but cannot generate it from within themselves.

As well as magical DNA, we also mixed magic and IT, so, even magic users can be geeks :). We’ll be expanding on that in further books, since we’re both a couple of computer geeks at heart! Still, just like in real life, there are things that defy even magical forensics, dangerous things, and for that, The Haward Mysteries have their very own wyrd department, a place of boffins and secrets, Castle Gray. This is where we can stretch the bounds of the forensics we have already set out, to give us areas of exploration. We will be visiting the strange world, even by magical standards, of Castle Gray again in later stories.

So, that’s it, a short venture into The Haward Mysteries‘ CSI. We’ll continue to develop our ideas in the next book, which we’re starting work on soon. I hope you enjoyed this little foray and, if you want to know more, how about a chance to win a copy of Sacrifice of An Angel? I have a giveaway going right now!

Guest Author Interview: Sophie Duncan

What authors or books have been most influential in your writing? Why?
The books I read when I was younger had a real influence on me, both in the genres I like to write and as inspiration for my own stories, so I’d have to say Susan Cooper, who wrote The Dark is Rising Sequence and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. I also owe a lot to The Brothers Grimm.

Tell us a little about your newest/upcoming book.
I am currently finishing the second book in The Heritage is Deadly Series, which is YA/NA paranormal fantasy. The first book follows Tom, who discovers that daddy was a vampire and returns to the village where he was born to find out more about himself. The second book continues Tom’s journey of discovery as he evolves and faces a new enemy more treacherous than any vampire he has met so far.

How are you going to celebrate the release? Do you have any traditions?
Being a publisher (Wittegen Press) as well as author, I think I’ll celebrate the release by having a bit of a rest. 🙂 Most of my traditions revolve around checking and double checking the layouts of eBooks. However, a proper tradition is a nice idea, so maybe for this book release, I’ll start one!

What future projects are you looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to starting the second book in The Haward Mysteries, which I write with my twin sister, Tasha. It takes more coordination that when I’m writing alone, but I really want to get back into the magical lives of Remy and Theo, our detective protagonists.

Where can we find you online?
I post regularly to my blog, Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles, but you can also find me at the locations below If you see the jaguar, that’s me :).