Thanks to Raven for letting me reach out to her great audience with this guest blog, in support my blog tour for my new urban fantasy eNovel “Jo-Bri and the Two Worlds,” which is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Smashwords, etc.
Write what you know. It’s a famous quote, I don’t know who first uttered it. And like a lot of quotes, it’s both wise advice and total hogwash. “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” are two moderately successful literary franchises that tend to buck the advice to write what you know, unless of course JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer are secretly witch and vampire. On the other hand, what we know is the material from which even the most imaginative writer draws, so, again: wisdom and hogwash in the same quote.
My own experience has been broad and I borrowed on it liberally in writing my urban fantasy novel “Jo-Bri and the Two Worlds.” Now please note that I am not a sorcerer, have never known an actual sorcerer, magician, witch, wizard, whatever (why so many words for one kind of creature?), I’ve never battled dangerous eight foot giants waving swords and spells. I’ve never even had a virtual orgy while standing in the shower with a lovely 18 year old woman and I’m quite sure my wife will not allow me that opportunity anytime soon. And yet…
So where did the sword and sorcery, sexual escapades and other adventures and insights in “Jo-Bri” come from? Well, part of it of course is wish fulfillment, built on all the previous works of fantasy and science fiction. Having read of wizards and witches and warlocks, it’s only natural for a writer to wish they had that kind of power. And since no-one really does, the natural step is to create imaginary characters and invest them with that kind of power, so that both the writer and the reader can vicariously experience a life filled with that kind of magic.
The trick of course is to create characters that are not just magical in the sense of being able to cast spells, but magical in the sense of being irresistible to the reader, someone they want to invest time and energy and caring into, someone they not only want to follow but need to. I hope I’ve done that with both Jo-Bri and Melinda, as well as the supporting cast of teenagers who become part of Jo-Bri’s army of neophyte magicians who are all that stand between the Dark Wizard Hodon and the destruction of the Human Race.
As for other aspects of the novel? Well, yes, 348 years ago I was a bit of a “player” so the sexual escapades were not completely foreign to me. Now what you have to ask yourself is this: am I really more than 348 years old…?
Another component of “Jo-Bri” is the humor. I never let it get in the way of the story but rather make it part of the story and of the characters. The early work of J.K. Rowling has a wonderful comic edge to it, especially the narrative, it was beautifully done and as it disappeared further on in the franchise, it led everyone involved to take themselves way too seriously. I tried to imbue “Jo-Bri” with that kind of humor but not to let it slip away, because after all, this is just a novel and not the kind that can really take itself too seriously. If I had a model for that, it was Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” which was wonderfully tongue in cheek throughout, even as it make powerful comments about our race and our society.
The other important aspect of this novel (other than magic, battles, and sex/romance) is exactly that: the kind of social commentary that Heinlein was famous for, especially in his opus “Stranger in a Strange Land.” I go all out with that in “Jo-Bri,” including sexuality, politics, music, especially sex and music (the two seem connected anyway, don’t they, and not always in a good way). I was careful here too not to get too preachy (at least I hope I didn’t get too preachy), and never to interfere with the story but always to have that social commentary arise naturally from the story, to be an intrinsic part of it rather than laid on lake slathering butter on a piece of toast.
In the end, I hope I succeeded with all the elements, but even if I didn’t get everything exactly right, I hope for two things: that I entertain the reader and make him think about the world and our place in it.Rob Tobin is a produced screenwriter, published novelist ("Jo-Bri and the Two Worlds" and "God Wars: Living with Angels", available on Amazon.com and iBookshelf), author of two screenwriting books ("The Screenwriting Formula" and "How to Write High Structure, High Concept Movies" available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Google, etc.), a former motion picture development executive and book editor, graduate of USC's prestigious Master of Professional Writing program, husband, father, Canadian, and lives an extraordinarily happy life in Southern California. He is available for writing assignments at email@example.com. Visit his website at robtobinwriting.com.
Jo-Bri And the Two Worlds
By Rob Tobin
A teen wizard from a sword-and-sorcery world is chased by an evil sorcerer into modern day Montana. There he learns about sex, love, rock and roll, and the stress of trying to save two worlds from total destruction during summer break.
"Jo-Bri" follows in the tradition of entertaining social statement SFF novels like "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Left Hand of Darkness," but with the modern, fast-paced feel of urban fantasies like "Twilight" and "Jumper."
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