Friday, March 16, 2012

The magic of Detroit

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
First of all, since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, I probably ought to talk about the magic of Ireland, especially since I'm about a quarter Irish by descent. Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to visit the Emerald Isle, so I'm not going to pretend I'd know what I was talking about. So I'll wish you the joy of the day and talk about a place near and dear to my own heart. (And one with a large Irish influence.)
I may have posted part of this article on this blog before, but it’s even more appropriate now, when our theme for this month is Mystical Places. When people think about settings for romance, Detroit is one of the last cities to come to mind. My hometown has a rough reputation, and much of it is earned. When I was dreaming up my Urban Arcana series of paranormal romances, though, I never thought twice about using Detroit as the home for elves, witches, werewolves and more. So why is the Motor City such a perfect backdrop?
Metropolitan Detroit’s over 300 year history is rich with industrial success, making it the home of numerous immigrant groups. That diversity could easily include other species. Who’d notice werewolves in Hamtramck (eastern European enclave), djinn in Dearborn (large Middle Eastern populace), or Fae in Corktown? The city is built over salt mines, and salt figures frequently in legend and myth. (and in my latest book!) Now that most of the industry has left, there’s an air of eerie, gritty decay. All the abandoned factories full of rusting iron lend ideal settings for supernatural activities. Furthermore police and other city civil servants, understaffed due to budget constraints, often adopt a pragmatic “not my problem” attitude. As long as nobody’s getting hurt, it’s a whole lot easier to look the other way. Why worry about some guy with pointy ears or fangs when he isn’t causing trouble?

And yet, Detroit has positive attributes which often go unsung. There are beautiful parks, where werewolves could shift and run. The dynamic revitalization of the riverfront lends an element of hope and looks to the future. Finally, Detroit boasts a thriving arts culture with world-class museums, music, and restaurants to rival those in any other city. When you put all that together, why wouldn’t the Motor City be a hub for paranormal activity?

My Urban Arcana books, Motor City Fae, Motor City Witch, Motor City Wolf and finally, Motor City Mage are set in Detroit and its suburbs, with occasional forays into the land Underhill, or Faerie. I love being able to mix the two, creating a contrast between the gritty real world and the glittery world of the Fae, but there are similarities, too. Both have political intrigue and are places where monsters exist, and yet both are places where a couple can defeat the bad guys, find their soul-mates, and fall in love. In the final book, I take the alternate reality concept one step further. Lana Novak and Des Sutton are forced to make their way through a series of alternate reality worlds to make their way home to Detroit and save the day. I think this brings even greater contrasts to their everyday world, and challenges their budding relationship in ways they never expected.

So does everyone think of their hometown as magical? I’m not sure. But Detroit to me, still has an uncanny, gloomy vibe that I love to explore—in real life and in fiction.

About the Book:

Motor City Mage
Urban Arcana #4
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Available Now from Carina Press
find out more at:

As a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She's mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy—not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can't be with someone who won't take her seriously, no matter how much she'd love to rip off his dress shirt.

When a dangerous new drug shows up in Detroit, Des must locate the source, and Lana is determined to help. But their plan goes awry, trapping them in a demon dimension. To return home, Lana and Des must flee through a series of unpredictable alternate realities, fighting enemies while trying to shut down the drug trade. But if they're going to survive, they'll have to rely on each other, even though getting closer will add fuel to a fire that's already burning out of control...

About the Author:

Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance who firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two teenage sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her household.


  1. I think Detroit is the perfect setting for your paranormal series. It seems like there's a lot of southern set PNR for some reason. It's nice to see somewhere different.


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