Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat
The Mortal Fires by Anna Durand

Welcome to the Vortex–The Tourist Trap that Inspired a Paranormal Romance

Novel Magic guest and Paranormal romance author, Anna Durand, lets us peek inside her mind as she shares a source of inspiration for her latest book-The Mortal Fires.

The Tourist Trap that Inspired a Paranormal Romance

A common question every writer gets asked is where story ideas originate. The simplistic answer is “in my imagination.” The more complicated truth involves sexy stuff like research. I’ve had a long-time fascination with the paranormal, ancient history, mythology, and science. These may sound like disparate interests, but they often converge in my writing. Science played a pivotal role in the Reborn series of paranormal romance novellas. With that series wrapped up, I craved a new kind of story that would incorporate my eclectic interests.

Thus, the Undercover Elementals series was born!

In the world of Undercover Elementals, magic underpins everything.  A key element of the story is a mystical healing vortex connected to both worlds, mortal and elemental. Did I make this up? Not entirely. I live in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, which boasts a genuine healing vortex situated behind a genuine rock shop much like the one where Lindsey works in the Undercover Elementals books. Though I have stood inside paranormal vortexthe vortex, I’ve never felt any energies flowing through me, though some people believe they have. I love the idea of the vortex, so naturally, something similar made its way into my writing.

The real vortex has no stone benches, like in my story. It is, however, a cool and offbeat place. The rock shop, Prospector’s Paradise, features a big, colorful sign portraying two witch-like beings above the words “Keweenaw Vortex.” The vortex itself lies behind the shop. You walk over a tiny wooden bridge and follow the handwritten sign that says “VORTEX” with an arrow pointing to the right. Soon, you reach a spot in the woods where hunks of trees serve as seating around the odd little altar situated near a stand of gnarled, lumpy trees.

My vortex resides in a similar location, but aside from the superficial similarities, the real rock shop and vortex bear no resemblance to the vortex 2place in my books. As far as I know, sylphs and leprechauns don’t haunt the woods there. 🙂 Of course, the Keweenaw does have legends of fairies said to live in local waterfalls. These beings have been immortalized in song by the monks of the Society St. John monastery near Eagle Harbor, who nicknamed them “Scoofies.” (The brothers also make delicious sweets they sell in their store, the Jampot.)

If you ever visit the Keweenaw Peninsula, stop by the real-life shop and its vortex, located near the village of Allouez. And dive into the fictional version in The Mortal Falls and The Mortal Fires, the first two books in the Undercover Elementals series.

Enjoy this excerpt from book 2, The Mortal Fires

A breeze wafted past me, carrying with it a faint and unpleasant odor The Mortal Fires by Anna Durandreminiscent of ammonia. It dissipated in seconds, though, and I hadn’t gotten a good enough whiff to identify the smell.

I turned in a circle within the vortex, scanning the woods for the source of the false sensation that had drawn me here. The woods were quiet—too quiet. No chattering squirrels or rustling of the wind through the leaves.

How could someone or something fool me into thinking Nevan was coming? My connection with him fueled the sensation. I had no similar connection with any other living thing. Of course, I was living among magical beings who sneaked into the mortal realm undercover, often posing as mortals. I had no clue how many elementals walked among us mere mortals.

Twigs cracked at my left one after another, amid stumbling footfalls and the panting, whimpering breaths of a distressed individual.

I spun toward the sound and shoved my hand under my shirt to close it around the grip of the handgun holstered inside the waistband of my jeans. The Bond Arms Mini derringer was small enough to fit inside my palm but let me fire .357 rounds as well as shotgun shells, thanks to its interchangeable barrels. I hoped I wouldn’t need either today, but I rested my hand on the gun just in case.

A girl staggered out of the woods and stopped several feet away, her body shaking, eyes wild and golden brown hair disheveled. Her large blue eyes flicked to me, and she froze. Her pallid skin grew whiter.

“Lindsey,” the girl said, her voice dry and brittle.

“Do I know you?” Pretty sure I didn’t, but she gaped at me like I was her long-lost relative.

A chill swept over my skin. This girl resembled me. Not like we were twins, but enough we could’ve passed for sisters. The pale girl gasping for air was more slender, where I had curves, and looked younger but otherwise…

The girl scuffled closer and stretched out one ghost-white, dirt-encrusted hand to me. Her face had transformed into a mask, as if she were drugged or entranced.

“You don’t belong,” she intoned. “You never will. Accept your fate or the forces allying against you will consume your power and your soul.”

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Meet Anna Durand

Anna Durand is an award-winning author of sizzling romances, includingAnna Durand the bestseller Dangerous in a Kilt, recipient of a 2016 National Readers’ Choice Award and an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Anna loves writing about spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Making use of her master’s in library science, she owns a cataloging services company that caters to indie authors and publishers. In her free time, you’ll find her binge-listening to audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting jewelry.


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