Living in Dystopia with Paula Altenburg and C*ntest

Today, please join me in welcoming author Paula Altenburg to Preternatura.  Paula is dropping by today as part of her virtual book tour celebrating the release of her most recent book, Black Widow Demon.  Black Widow Demon is the second book in Paula’s Demon Outlaws series and was published on November 26th by Entangled Publishing.
Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys the freedom of working from home and writing fulltime. Paula currently writes paranormal romance and category romance for Entangled.  You can learn more about Paula by visiting her website, by reading her blog, by visiting her on facebook or by following her on twitter. 
ABOUT BLACK WIDOW DEMON:  Passionate and headstrong, half-demon Raven is nearly executed on the orders of her fundamentalist stepfather. She escapes from the burning stake using the gifts of her otherworldly heritage and the help of a mortal stranger named Blade. Now she’s set on revenge, and only quiet, intense Blade stands in her way. A retired assassin weary of the weight of his past, Blade has crossed the desert to seek out a new life. His journey is interrupted when his conscience demands he help Raven find an old friend who can help her. Saving her from her need for revenge and delivering her into the hands of loved ones means he’s one step closer to redemption. But as Blade’s sense of duty becomes something more and threats, both mortal and immortal, stalk the woman he can’t abandon, he could very well fall back into the life he’s trying so hard to escape.
And now, let’s hear from Paula…
Living in Dystopia
By Paula Altenburg

I’m often asked how I come up with my settings for paranormal romance, and to be honest, it’s one of the last things I think about.

For my demon westerns, as with most of my books, I’m all about the characters. The setting was easier in Black Widow Demon because it’s the second book in the Demon Outlaws series (The Demon’s Daughter released March 2013 from Entangled Publishing) so I already had an established world for them. It was more a matter of expanding that world to suit my main characters, Blade and Raven.

The Demon Outlawsseries takes place in a “post-apocalyptic, throwback to the Wild West” world that’s pretty much been decimated by demons who used it as a playground. Goddesses attempted to minimize the damage by keeping the demons contained within a desert microcosm, but unfortunately, mortals found themselves caught within that same region. Now nobody knows what’s been happening beyond the boundary for the past four hundred years. Does the Old World even exist?

I often wonder what would happen if disaster struck on an epic scale. Maybe not Philippines epic (that’s a terrible tragedy), but more along the lines of “world altering” rather than complete devastation. Think Jericho. (I watch this on Netflix.)

When I build futuristic worlds, I try to draw on reality as much as possible. I don’t believe a dystopian future has to be necessarily all grim hopelessness. People are resilient. I do, however, think they’ll be simpler.

Ten years ago, a hurricane shut down my home province for almost a week. I saw the military drive through on their way to the capital city, and experienced the eerie sensation of an empty world where people pretty much “went to ground” because they had no idea what to do next.

It really didn’t take long, however, before they began to regroup. People didn’t wait for someone to take charge. There are always the practical people who see what needs to be done. Within a day or so, the neighbors were all out cleaning the debris off our rural road. There were street barbecues as people used up what was going to spoil in their fridges and freezers.

Ours was hardly an epic disaster. We got our power back after almost a week and life returned to normal. But what if it hadn’t? What if the power never came back? What if we were forever cut off from the rest of the world?

I decided my story world people would retain what was most useful and ditch the superfluous. Cell phone towers wouldn’t be a top priority. Pilfering canned goods from stores is at best a short term solution. (Those things have expiry dates for a reason. Ever see what happens to a can of peaches left in the cupboard too long?)

I watched a few of those survivor shows and checked out some websites for research, and I’m not entirely convinced that stockpiling weapons would be a major necessity either. Not out where I live, in the middle of rural Nova Scotia, where the neighbors are genuinely all about helping each other. I left out the nuclear warheads and brought back the six shooters. Those looked like fun and a whole lot more practical, because yes, there will always be a need for self-defense in a lawless land.

And that was what made the Wild West so attractive to me as a writer. It may have been lawless, but there was a code of ethics that people adhered to.  Life was simple and straightforward.

In Black Widow Demon, I do have to say that my hero Blade, even though he’s a former assassin, is one of the most ethical and resilient characters I’ve ever written. I love that guy so much.  Raven, for her part, had to be a strong enough heroine to stand with a man who will kill without hesitation if the motivation is right. Their world had to support their particular code of ethics.

But hope is a necessary part of any world, and I like to think I bring that to my Demon Outlawsseries. After all, romances—even futuristic paranormals—are about the Happily Ever After, fairy tale endings, aren’t they?
Thanks, Paula!
As part of Paula’s virtual book tour, she is giving away five $10 Amazon gift cards.  For your chance to win a gift card, leave a comment and then enter below. 

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24 thoughts on “Living in Dystopia with Paula Altenburg and C*ntest

  1. I am particularly interested in how society would rebuild itself in disaster scenarios. Am with you in the hope that stockpiled weapons were not to be so very needed.

  2. i do need to find hope in the book i read be it set in the past, present, futur or ibn space i need the character to find their HEA even if it’s after a lot of suffering so i think your series would be perfect for me

    thank you a lot for explaining how you came to create it^^

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