Ari is a friend of mine and someone who has written for me. He’s a great guy and an even better writer. I’m happy to have inspired him in some small way. I really like the Mick Oberon books.
It's both funny and highly appropriate that I'm writing this "Tell Me" post about HALLOW POINT for Jennifer's web site. See, she doesn't know this—or I guess she does by the time you're reading this, but she didn't before I sent this to her—but in a small way, she's part of the reason that my character of Mick Oberon exists at all.
Real quick, first, for those of you who don't know. Mick Oberon is a PI in Chicago in the 1930s, very much in the model of a Chandler of Mammett protagonist. He's also, however, one of the aes sidhe, and a noble-in-exile from the Seelie Court. The books about him—both the new one, HALLOW POINT, and the first one, called HOT LEAD, COLD IRON—are a mixture of gangland/noir mystery and urban fantasy.
Now, I've been asked before how I came up with Mick, and what I tell people is that he's basically an "Athena character," by which I mean he sprang full-grown from my head one day. And that's true, so far as it goes; he really did just pop to mind. I didn't set out tp envision any such character, nor was I planning to write a noir/fantasy mix. It all just came to me.
But part of the reason it came to me is that I was already thinking about fairy tales. And the reason I was thinking about fairy tales is that I'd just been invited to contribute to an anthology of short stories called HUMAN TALES, a book of "reverse" fairy tales. (That is, where the faeries or other supernatural creatures with the protagonists, and it was the humans who were the monsters or the mysteries.) The story I wound up writing for that book, called "Tithe," had nothing whatsoever to do with Mick Oberon; he wasn't really an appropriate character for what I wanted to do with that project.
He stuck with me, though, and wound up developing into a character and an idea for which I've already written two novels, and hope to write a great many more. It's not quite like anything else I've written, and it's not quite like most of the other urban fantasy out there. These books are their own thing, Mick's his own character, and maybe I'd have come up with him even if I hadn't been contemplating fairy tales that evening. But then again, maybe I wouldn't.
So thanks, Jennifer, for this opportunity to talk to him—and just possibly for spurring me to come up with him in the first place.
Read more Ari at his website: Mouseferatu: Rodents of the Dark.