Caledonia is a series of urban fantasy novels (also adapted into a web series) featuring human detective Leah Bishop and her selkie partner Dorian Grey as they investigate supernatural crime on the streets of Glasgow. We caught up with its author Amy Hoff, ahead of the first novel’s republication and the web series’ debut on LGBTQ streaming service REVRY later this month.
STARBURST: How would you describe Caledonia to someone coming to it fresh?
Amy Hoff: I think it is the story of a hard woman who feels very lost, and finds out that there’s magic still in the world. Leah and Dorian are an odd couple, but her harshness fits well with his stoicism and Victorian outlook. It’s urban fantasy with a Glasgow smile; in both of the ways you can take that. Glasgow was always a place where finding the magic in the mundane made things fun and interesting. Caledonia does not shy away from the darker aspects of living in the city, but shows the humour and fantasy too.
What kind of people would be interested in it?
People who don’t take their urban fantasy too seriously, but who enjoy magical realism. There’s a sense of reality to the stories, as they are meant to describe everyday life in the city. It was also important to showcase the diversity of the metropolitan area, so there are characters of various different backgrounds, including class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality.
What is it about Scottish folklore that appeals to you?
I was a drifter on the American road for over a decade, and I’d always hear monster and ghost stories along the way. Driving down a dark highway at night alone, you get to thinking about all these things. Eventually I studied for a degree in history and folklore. Scotland’s monsters and mythology appealed because the stories are so rich and varied for such a small nation.
How did the series come to shown on REVRY?
A few years back, I met the founders of REVRY at a networking event in Los Angeles. I spoke to them about Caledonia and how I thought the show might be a good fit for their platform. Recently, I got in touch with them again and have been working with Ben Mason at REVRY for the show’s debut alongside the novel release on June 23rd.
Yes. One of the main characters, Detective Inspector Dorian Grey, is openly bisexual (as are all selkies in Caledonia). The vampire Desdemona is genderfluid, although she herself does not technically have a biological sex designation. Later in the series we meet other characters, such as Lt. Gen. Iain Grey, an asexual aromantic character. The book series is much further along than the shows and film so readers will encounter others as the stories go on.
Once Burns Night is released, will it also be made available on the site?
I don’t know yet, but it is possible. We are hoping for a theatrical release first, and a trailer to be available within the upcoming month.
With the book’s republication, are you hopeful of a new audience discovering it?
Yes, I am hopeful that the book will find a wider audience this time. I have also been told that many people still prefer a physical book to an e-book so this might be a good opportunity to see whether that is true.
Will Erebus Society also publish the other books in the series?
Yes, we have already spoken about the rest of the series and all of the novels will eventually be available in paperback form through Erebus Society. It is also possible that they may be available in hardcover versions sometime in the future.
What other projects have you got in the works?
I have several other books and scripts I am working on, some of which will also be published by the same company. The Connoisseur, my other previously published novel, will be released through Erebus too. I am also working on a new book based on my road experiences called American Drifter, which should be available by the end of the year.