Tor.com content by

Melissa F. Olson

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Nightshades

|| Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades. Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Switchback

The Bureau of Preternatural Investigations returns in Melissa F. Olson’s Switchback, available October 24th from Tor.com Publishing.

Three weeks after the events of Nightshades, things are finally beginning to settle for the Chicago branch of the BPI, but the brief respite from the horror of the previous few weeks was never destined to last.

The team gets a call from Switch Creek, WI, where a young man has been arrested on suspicion of being a shade.

The suspect is held overnight, pending DNA testing, but seemingly escapes in a terrifying and bloody massacre. But is there more to the jailbreak than a simple quest for freedom?

[Read more]

Testing the Waters: What to Do When You Don’t Like Anything

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

When I first learned about the “And Related Subjects” series, it threw me for a loop. Actually, it was less of a loop and more of a downward spiral, because that’s what happens when you realize you have no passions. In thirty-three years on this earth, I didn’t manage to develop even a hobby, unless you count games that begin with the words “Candy Crush.”

But the more I read about fantastic authors who also go mountain-climbing or fencing or compose actual music, the farther I went into panic-shame-depression mode. I’ve spent the last decade of my life writing books, building a writing career (these are two different things, by the way), and raising kids. I don’t have a lot of free time, and when I do have a night off, I dust off my film degree and take it to the movies, usually with my husband in tow.

[Then I realized that I was looking at it the wrong way…]

Five Books About Policing the Supernatural

When vampires run amok, who has to stop them?

This is one of the questions I pose in my novella Nightshades, which is about a newly-formed government agency trying to pull together a team to stop a major vampire offensive.

For the last few years, I have been writing the Old World series for 47North, in which an extensive supernatural world is unknown to humans. Writing about the clash between a hidden world and the real world is great fun, but a few years ago, I started thinking about what would happen if everyone found out about a supernatural threat. How would the government respond? The legal system? How would law enforcement officials investigate a crime in which all the suspects are off the grid and have superpowers?

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Series: Five Books About…

Nightshades

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

Nightshades is a new gritty urban fantasy from Melissa F. Olson—available July 19th from Tor.com Publishing!

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Rewriting the Rules of Urban Fantasy: Paul Cornell’s London Falling

Sometimes a book just sort of floats around in your brain-ether, not really sticking anywhere but constantly reminding you of its existence. Paul Cornell’s 2013 novel London Falling was like that for me. Without really learning anything about the story, I kept seeing this book on best-of lists and newsletters. It was always attached to phrases like “groundbreaking new urban fantasy.” Eventually I managed to pick up a hardcover copy at the public library.

The opening scenes of London Falling throw you into the middle of an extremely realistic police investigation, as two undercover officers infiltrate a gang despite serious tension between them. And frankly, I was disappointed. I’d been promised groundbreaking urban fantasy, not a British police procedural. I returned the book without getting past Chapter 1.

A year or so later, there was a deal on the Kindle version of London Falling, and I thought, what the hell. I was going to be appearing at a convention with Paul, and I figured reading the book for real might give us something to chat about. Why not give it one more shot? This time I went in knowing that Cornell was telling a story about a police squad, and that it would rather reasonably open with the squad members doing police-y things. I read through the opening investigation/manhunt, kept going, and…

[Wow.]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Nightshades

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

Melissa F. Olson’s gritty new urban fantasy, Nightshades, is available July 19th from Tor.com Publishing—we’re excited to share a preview below! This deleted scene didn’t make it into the novella, but it’s an excellent prologue to this supernatural procedural.

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