Some Urban Fantasy stories feature a divide between the people and creatures who use and know magic and the normal everyday humans. Do you think this affects how some characters respond to emergencies?
Doug Blakeslee: In Fire & Frost those that can use magic aren't afraid to rely on it in an emergency, provided there's no witnesses. Fae magic loves illusions, trickery, and subtle misdirection to avoid calling attention to itself. In the case of my protagonist, his usual response is very showy and not at all subtle. He uses it only when there's no witnesses or when someone else has used it first, such as in the climax of the story. That's something comes up when I'm working on stories, just what would normal people do when confronted by magic or something that's decidedly inhuman. Setting up those situations gives a more “realistic” feel to the story.
Jennifer Brozek: People with different skills respond to emergencies in different ways. An EMT will respond with the skills they have while a general office worker with no experience may panic. Those with magic or other supernatural abilities will use them when they are confronted with a crisis. The fun comes out when they must do something out of the ordinary to save a normal person, thus revealing themselves.
Erik Scott de Bie: Lady Vengeance is a little unexpected for someone whose powers are magic-based. You’d think she’d rely on her powers to solve all her problems, but the virtue of nearly thirty years as a superhero is experience with various other techniques, be they computers, diplomacy, or good ol’ bare-knuckled brawling (or frying pan-fu). Her opposite—Stardust—is a technical genius and big science nerd who absolutely hates magic, mostly because he can’t anticipate or grok it. He solves all his problems with science, and magical solutions don’t even occur to him. (That’s cheating!) The tensions and contrasts between my two principals is an important part of the story.
Phoebe Matthew: Weak magic runs through the Mudflat families and results in them covering for each other. The paranormal sunspinners would love to have a little magic. It would make their lives so much easier. Instead all they have is a normal everyday human to cover for them and yes, it affects their behavior. They have added more security devices to their home than ADT ever dreamed of.
Django Wexler: In John Golden, this divide doesn’t really exist – everyone knows about magic, at least a little. It operates on the same level that detailed technical knowledge does in the real world: most people know computers exist, and can use them, but when something goes badly wrong they have to call an expert. In the John Golden world, things going wrong can be a little bit more alarming, but the principle is basically the same.
Janine A. Southard: Everything that we are is reflected in what we do. Imagine a small emergency. For instance, they’re out of your mother’s favorite brand of orange juice when you go to the store for her. Are you the kind of person who calls her (because you know she doesn’t like texting) for other options? Or the kind who just grabs what’s on sale (because you know better than to disturb her)? Perhaps you text your sister, or tweet a request for advice, or skip the orange juice altogether.
With magic at your disposal in this scenario, you’d have a lot more options, and you’d probably be tempted to pick one. Why not transform the Florida’s Natural into Tropicana with your alchemical skills, or teleport to the grocery store on the other side of town? No problem. These sound much better than all of the above.
Cedar Blake: Well, that line’s pretty blurry in Dream Along the Edge. Rachel Cooper, my heroine, has a degree of paranormal ability, although whether that’s an innate part of who she is or whether it comes from her intimate association with her shapeshifting lover Heaven remains deliberately ambiguous. Her roommate Chalice, and the boy-toy Luke, obviously lack such abilities, and their jealousy plays a definite role in the tension between them all. As for emergencies, I think the ghost-net episode reveals just how much Rachel and Heaven have in common. Their abilities allow them to do what they do, and that “emergency” bonds them in ways no other situation could have done.