I tend to write fanfic in a burst of inspiration, in order to sort of “reply” to another author’s work. It happens if I feel like something is missing or incomplete, some important questions left unanswered, and I feel compelled to try and answer them.

Harry Potter and the Hourwick of Oz (2019)

Despite JK Rowling’s horrific transphobia, the Harry Potter series is, by and large, pretty good. The books are full of characters who promote and celebrate diversity of peoples and perspectives. People who transform (willingly and unwillingly) are central to the plot, and are portrayed sympathetically. Deep down I think Rowling is a conflicted, non-integrated person, and I hope that she one days realizes the damage she is doing to marginalized people.

But quite apart from all that, the Potter series is far from perfect. There were always certain aspects of the worldbuilding that struck me as weird. Where did the wizard magic come from? Why was it passed down from parents to children (but not always)? It didn’t really act like a genetic thing; and anyway, having “genetics” as an explanation for magic was quite unsatisfying. And what was the deal with house elves? Hermione’s attempts to liberate them are an important part of the books, but that just serves to lampshade the problem: it’s not clear why some wizard families have them and not others, and why the house elves are willing to serve wizards (despite the fact that it seems like elves are much more powerful than wizards), and why giving them clothing frees them, even if they don’t want to be freed.

But as I turned the matter over in my mind, things began to click. My very very very first book (way back in 1993! — it only exists as a huge printout in a closet) was about people who had captured magical beings in order to exploit their power. And there was also Oz, an amazingly rich source of lore and characters I felt it would be interesting to explore.

These story seeds combined with the house elf questions and led to Harry Potter and the Hourwick of Oz, which is all done, and I’m quite pleased with it. You can read more about it here, or you can just download it free here at my Patreon page.