From about age 8, my goal in life was to be a great wizard. The sort who’s discovered randomly in the fields one day and taken to a dark tower where she’s alone with her teacher for at least a decade, learning about mathematics and alchemy in order to control the natural world with a complicated ritual. Possibly also I’d have a griffon familiar.
Because it’s the little things.
By the time I was in high school I realized that a) a wizard master would be nearly impossible to find, and b) probably it was for the best, because I was likely to turn out a very DARK wizard. The world is better off for my not having phenomenal cosmic powers. The next best thing was to be a writer.
And it was darker than anything I’d imagined. Animal sacrifice, blood magic, resurrection, cursework; all of these things exist in our world, in our major religions. I became desperate to explore them in a modern setting.
I started the story with character, of course, with family and relationships and loss, but when I began to build the magic my main questions were:
How far do you have to go for this magic?
How far can you go and still be a hero?
How bad can I make it?
Where is the line between my hero and my villain and the magic they each use?
What makes dark fantasy thrilling and scary is that it’s not about world domination or creatures, it’s that the monsters are us. They’re reflections of who we are, or who we could be. Darkness in stories lets us explore ourselves, lets us look the monster in the face and relate to it.
My 8 year old self would have assumed that Blood Magic would be about great alchemy and warring wizard kingdoms, but instead it’s just about a girl trying to figure out who to become. Her magic is dark dark dark, but intimate and immediate and personal. It reflects her heart.
It reflects my heart.