According to my agent, publishers don’t want ‘demon’ books any more. Does that mean that publishers will throw out any book with demons in it without further examination. I’ve had two rejections already that suggest that this is the case. But anyone who says that they don’t want another demon book is making a huge assumption. They’re assuming that all demon books are essentially the same.
It will be sad if publishers reject Lethal Inheritance simply because the bad guys are demons, (though, at least it would mean that it’s not because the book isn’t any good). It isn’t just another book about demons, nevertheless, as soon as someone sees the word ‘demon’ in the blurb, they’ll probably stick it in the box labeled ‘demon book.’ Sigh! It’s a reasonable thing to do if you have only one cultural / philosophical perspective. If you only know demons as denizens of Hell in a world defined by western stories populated with angels, God and the devil, then you’ll have an understandable preconceived notion about what demon stories entail.
But Western Christian based views aren’t the only views in the world. Eastern cultures and philosophies have a different set of parameters for demons and their role in man’s world. Eastern demons exist without reference to God, angels, the devil or hell. They are metaphors for the real demons in the world – our negative emotions. The world and happenings in Lethal Inheritance are based on this idea, not on the Judeo-Christian idea of demons, and because of it, the only thing the same about my book and the plethora of demon books out there is that I use the same word for the bad guys.
I wondered if I should change the word demon to something else, but there isn’t another one that’s suitable. Then I thought that perhaps I could make up a new word, but that would only confuse people, and the fact is that these creatures are definitely demons. What else do you call something that gets into your head and makes you crazy? Even in the west, we refer to someone crazy or in turmoil as being persecuted by inner demons.
So my demons are these inner demons manifesting as form on a subtle level of reality. In the gross level of reality that we inhabit, most people can’t see them. They’re there, but they’re just energy. Once you’re attuned to a more subtle layer of reality, however, you can see them, and in the hidden realm they’re very real indeed. Real enough to kidnap your mother and kill you if you don’t learn how to defend yourself fast enough.
Why is Lethal Inheritance not just another Demon book?
- · no angels
- · no western myths (or eastern ones for that matter)
- · no God, gods or goddesses
- · no hell
- · The demons in Lethal Inheritance feed on your negative emotions so you can’t kill them by getting angry. Your anger just makes them bigger and stronger.
- · You kill them with mind power, not physical power.
- · Some of them are small and funny. They don’t cause too much trouble and are relatively easy to get rid of.
A couple of things are the same or similar to other books, for example, they disappear when they die and the nastiest ones look a bit like Ring Wraiths from the Lord of the Rings, but I’ve never heard of demons that suck energy from their prey by placing their talons on the person’s neck. That one’s unique.
When I tell teens about my book, it’s the fact that the demons feed on fear and anger that grabs their attention. They really like that idea. But if you label it as just another demon book and throw it in the reject pile because of it, you’re missing that point. The target audience really likes the basic premise of these demons, and that premise isn’t anything like any other book on the market. So, even if demons really aren’t fashionable anymore, people are still going to buy Lethal Inheritance because it’s not like those other demon books. Are any publishers listening?
Do you like the idea of demons that feed on negative emotions? What about the concept of having to use the power of your mind, rather than physical force to overcome them? Does Lethal Inheritance sound like just another demon book to you?
I think as a writer you have to trust what your mind calls things. Changing “demons” to something else might alter your vision, and compromise too much. You could chose another name for them, I suppose, but only if that name “spoke” to you, or felt right to you as a creator.
The idea of feeding off emotions reminds me a bit of emotional vampirism, which I don’t think I’ve seen in fiction. I think there is probably an audience for it. It is a nice twist on the usual cliches.
(Just vaguely related: I remember reading, and loving, a ya book that had Japanese demons (Oni) in it. One was a Tengu, a birdlike mountain demon that was a bit of a trickster, who ended up being a guide for the main character, a young human girl. Not at all like the Western demons that we do tend to think about. I wish I could remember the name. )
Tahlia Newland says
Thanks, Lea.,It’s good to be reminded of that and I’m glad you think there’s an audience for it. There’s also a book out using chinese demons, the white tiger is the first in the series. Although based on the Tibetan demons, I wanted to keep them culturally non specific, so I have given them different names.