From Wayne’s World to Red Dwarf: Inspirations Behind Spellbound’s Paranormal Roaring Twenties
When someone learns I wrote a novel set in the 1920s, I often get asked, “Oh, were you inspired by the Great Gatsby?”
And I have to nervously laugh and say, “Um, actually…do you remember the 90s movie Wayne’s World?”
In 1992, a Saturday Night Live sketch spun-off to the big screen and became Wayne’s World. I barely remember anything from the movie beyond Tia Carrere as Cassandra Wong–singer, bassist, and all-around badass. Carrere’s character stayed with me: she was gorgeous, funny, and strong; she was smart and a kickass musician; she was in a relationship with a white guy at a time when I–a biracial kid–rarely saw interracial couples in the media unless they died in tragedy, West Side Story-style.
Fast forward 10 years, and I was delighted to see Tia Carerre again, this time as Professor Syndey Fox in the Canadian series Relic Hunter. (If you’ve read Spellbound or its synopsis, you might see where this is going.) Relic Hunter was on late at night and I would catch it while studying. I already loved Tia Carerre from childhood and the show was campy and fun, following her adventures finding ancient artifacts and returning them to museums or the rightful owners, sometimes with some fantasy or soft science fiction thrown in.
Relic Hunter, alongside Indiana Jones, was one of the inspirations for the supernatural relics in the Magic in Manhattan universe. I picked Spain as the country of origin because of my own Hispanic heritage. For the characters with their different kinds of magic, I was inspired in part by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Although the time periods are different, I loved the idea of a paranormal cabal working together to stop a magical plot.
Of course, one of the two protagonists, Arthur, doesn’t actually have any magic. For my historical romance, I wanted to put an American spin on the trope of the British aristocrat, which is why Arthur is the son of a congressman. He’s a former college quarterback in a nod to American football history, although he dropped out of Yale to enlist in the Great War, where his military rank of Second Lieutenant was inspired by President Teddy Roosevelt’s son, Quentin.
The other protagonist, Rory, has more magic than he knows what to do with. Spellbound started life as contemporary romantic suspense; Rory kept his glasses and prickly personality from that early draft but picked up psychometry, the power to read objects’ histories, a paranormal power I’d been wanting to write about. He has one American parent and one immigrant parent, just like me, and is half-white, half-Italian in a reflection of two of the largest ethnic groups of 1920s New York.
So where does the quirky BBC sci-fi show Red Dwarf fit in? Well, like with Relic Hunter, I used to watch Red Dwarf reruns while studying. And when creating my dashing relic-hunter Arthur, my mind went to Arnold Rimmer’s dashing alternate dimension counterpart, Ace Rimmer–and that’s how Arthur got the nickname Ace. What a guy.
To save Manhattan, they’ll have to save each other first…
Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.
Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk. To protect himself, he’s become a recluse, redirecting his magic to find counterfeit antiques. But with the city’s fate hanging in the balance, he can’t force himself to say no.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
This book is approximately 75,000 words
Allie Therin is a writer and avid reader of sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. She also is, or has been, a bookseller, an attorney, a Parks & Rec assistant, a boom operator, and a barista for one (embarrassing) day. She grew up in a tiny Pacific Northwest town with more bears than people, although the bears sadly would not practice Spanish with her.
Genre: Historical Genre: Paranormal Orientation: Bisexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Age-Gap Tag: Forced Proximity Tag: Guest Post Tag: Magic Tag: Part of a series Tag: Slow Burn Allie Therin Magic in Manhattan series Spellbound