Clare Urbanski is a fantasy writer from Wisconsin who loves languages, music, anything funny, and–above all–villains.
We’re excited to have Clare with us at Evil Expo! We had the honor of doing an email interview with her.
Evil Expo: Can you tell us a bit about who you are, and what you write and create?
Clare: In most of my social media bios I describe myself as an “indie author and total nerd,” which I think about sums it up. As a child I used to be utterly convinced that “The Legend of Zelda” was real and one day Link would show up and sweep me away on a quest to help him save Hyrule. I’m not 100% certain I got over it, because when I realized Link wasn’t coming, I started writing fantasy novels instead. I wrote my first full-length fantasy novel in sixth grade, which you can pry from my cold, dead fingers if I ever find it, but at least it got me to where I am now!
My novels are very character-centric, with a lot of emotional content, convoluted families, and—of course—villains who do terrible things to themselves and others. People have tried to compliment me by saying “Oh, I like that it’s fantasy, but the characters are realistic,” which is a nice compliment but also makes me want to hit them with a bust of Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve always been of the opinion that fantasy should never be superficial, and I’m hoping to fight against the constant assumptions that it can’t be a serious genre.
Evil Expo: How did you get started doing videos?
Clare: I’d been playing around with the idea of starting a YouTube channel ever since NormalBoots and HiddenBlock absolutely destroyed my constructive use of free time, but I never got around to it until I realized it might be a good way to promote my writing. After trying a few different things, I eventually decided to focus on villains—partially so I could promote it on my Villain Fangirl twitter account and partially because I realized villains were all I really wanted to talk about anyway.
Evil Expo: What do you like about villainy, fractured fairytales, and other unconventional scenarios?
I love playing around with tropes and archetypes. I guess you could say my style is picking up fantasy tropes and running with them—sometimes towards the right end zone, sometimes towards the wrong end zone, and sometimes completely off the field, leaving a horde of injured fans and pissed refs in my wake. Depends on what mood I’m in.
As for villains, there are a couple different reasons. Generic answer: they’re more interesting than the heroes. Sophisticated answer: I often think of the Bible verse about the one sheep from a flock of a hundred who wandered off—why would the shepherd need to go after the ninety-nine who stayed? He cares about them, but they’re not the ones who are in trouble. Trash answer: a lot of villains are super hot.
Evil Expo: Do you have a favorite villain? If so, who is it?
Clare: Ganondorf. He’s definitely not the best villain ever, or even the best Zelda villain (except maybe in Wind Waker. He peaked in Wind Waker), but he was the quintessential villain of my childhood. I always wanted to square off against him in a good healthy game of Dead Man’s Volley. Except one time as an adult I actually had a nightmare that I was doing just that, and he ended up torturing me to death, so maybe it’s a good thing Link never rang my front doorbell like I wanted (the worst part is that’s not even the scariest nightmare I’ve ever had about a Zelda villain).
Evil Expo: Where should we look for your work?
If you like villains and memes, check out “The Villain Doctor” on YouTube, and if you’re looking for something to read, find me on Amazon or Goodreads! People’s favorites have tended to be “Sixth in Line,” which is a murder drama from the villain’s perspective, and “Queen of Spades,” which is a trilogy that brings a deck of cards to life (think that one part of “Alice in Wonderland” on crack). And I’ve got a new novel coming out this fall, “The Witch’s Apprentice,” which once again takes a fairytale premise (a firstborn child being promised to a witch) and runs off the field with it (the firstborn child likes it much better with the witch). I post updates on Twitter and Instagram pretty frequently, so follow me if you’re interested!