I asked Nicole Field, author of Changing Loyalties, about how she came up with the world of her Shadows of Melbourne series. Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with her fiancee, two cats, and a bottomless cup of tea. She likes candles, incense and Gilmore Girls. Changing Loyalties will be available for purchase from Less Than Three Press on January 24th, 2018.
The answer to this question is both simple and complex. The simple answer is this:
I have lived in Melbourne, Australia for most of my life. Yet, I am used to seeing the Tri-Cities (the Mercy Thompson series), Missouri (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter), Louisiana (Sookie Stackhouse), Chicago, (Dresden Files), Arizona (Iron Druid Chronicles), Atlanta (Kate Daniels) and London (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator) in paranormal and urban fantasy series.
The initial plan for Shadows of Melbourne (of which Changing Loyalties is the first installment), was that it would be set in a city with which I was incredibly familiar. Beyond that, it needn’t read all that differently than a paranormal novel set within the States, or England.
The more complex answer includes my awareness that Australia is a land of immigrants. I was certain early on that I wanted to represent that history in having two of my main vampire characters—Elliott and Annabelle—come across to Australia from England not too long after the time of the First Fleet’s arrival in 1788.
But it also occurred to me that Australia’s cities are very diverse, and I wanted to represent more of that than just the city of Melbourne.
We do have a great deal more industry and urban sprawl in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Therefore, it made sense to me that this would be where the vampires were most powerful. Certainly, Melbourne is where Annabelle and Elliott have set up their own power base over the last 100 years. Future books in the series will show a similar power base set up in Sydney.
Although there is a werewolf presence in Melbourne, it is made clear in Changing Loyalties that the power base for werewolves within Australia is in and around Perth, Western Australia, wherein the urban sprawl is less, and the wide open spaces much more. In Melbourne, the pack house (pictured in the gorgeous cover art by @NatashaSnow) is on the outskirts of Melbourne. It is the suburbs and the remoter regions where they choose to make their home.
Another thing I’ve noticed Melbourne is very good at is its arts and culture. Our outcries when we notice terrible things in the news. I could vividly see a company of librarian-style witches coming up in this city behind the business front of a place I’ve called ‘Personal Documentation’.
It’s partly a support group where people who have been attacked by werewolves or vampires, or have family or friends who have had the same, can find peace. It’s also a place where they can learn about what has happened. It’s a place where they can take power into their own hands against them, if need be. And it’s also where my main character—a wholly human university student, Dahlia Noone—will find people who know as much about the supernatural elements of Melbourne as she does.
When Dahlia finds the body of her father, a werewolf, brutally murdered and left to die alone, she’s left with more questions and grief than answers. But who or what killed him remains unknown, and it soon becomes clear her father isn’t the killer’s only target.
Adding to the growing pile of mysteries in her life is the new job—for a company that seems to be run by the kind of people who have no qualms about murdering werewolves. Even more frustrating, Dahlia’s new boss, Bianca, is curt and rude—and far more intriguing than seems fair.
Changing Loyalties will be released on January 24, January 24th, 2018. You can preorder it at the Less Than Three Press store.