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Jean McKinney

Two Magicians, flash fiction, Issue 33, December 1, 2015

Jean McKinney is an author/designer and award winning creator of the urban fantasy novels and stories of the Moon Road and the historical fantasy series Sorrows Hill. Her speculative fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and Europe including Saturday AfternoonLovers and LiarsVox FeminaLes Chats Noirs and the Indie Authors short fiction collections. She lives in the borderlands of Southern Arizona, where she writes and produces images and graphics for the web. Visit her at

Get to know Jean...
Birthday? 19 August 1954

When did you start writing? I was telling stories about Mars before I could read, but I began seriously writing as a journalism student in high school. 

When and what and where did you first get published? Now that’s a tricky one. I was first published for pay at the age of 16 when I had my own column in a local newspaper. But fiction didn’t come till much later, when my first prose poem/flash fiction appeared in 1989 in a Los Angeles area literary magazine.

What themes do you like to write about? I write what’s variously called speculative fiction, slipstream fiction and urban/historical fantasy. I’m not sure what label really fits, but I’m always interested in exploring what happens when the surreal, the magical or the otherworldly bumps up against our everyday reality. I also feature characters who are struggling with walking between those two worlds.

What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? So many! But to list a few: the fine urban fantasist Charles de Lint, Emma Bull and her fabulous War for the Oaks, Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. There’s even Barbara Hambly and her charming “silicon mage” series of a while ago – seriously outdated now but the story of a displaced computer programmer from our world who falls in love with an insane magician in another one still resonates. What all these authors have in common is their exploration of a character who’s forced to confront a world of magic – and what they do about that. So in my Moon Road books and stories we have everyday people who find out that there’s another reality coexisting alongside their own – and sometimes they fall into it. What do they do with that new knowledge?

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