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I'm going to attempt to give you all the information you need to help me without overburdening you with long sentences and useless information, which I often do. Here it goes.
Fact 1: The main protagonist might be considered a typical 1950's gumshoe detective with a few of the accompanying cliches.
2: The story plot revolves around the murder of an important government official.
3: The protagonist must of course solve the mystery and find the murderer. Which is a lot more complicated than it first appears.
4: Oh, and it's set in a pseudo 15th century Middle Eastern culture complete with camels, sand, working magic and gods.
The way I described the detective might be a little misleading though, to accurately portray the time period (which is only slightly more advanced than the historical one), some things must be changed. But basically, he is a detective, in a time and place that has never known such a thing.
So my question is, as the header reads, is it too strange to base a story off of?
I thought of all the fantasy books I know and I noticed how 90% of them dealt with white Europeans in castles going on quests with elves. And I thought of all the rich culture, history and mythology surrounding the middle east and thought, why not write about that? And not about a young wizard that goes on Quests for Items Of Power because he's The Chosen One, but about a wizard that does what he does because 1: He gets paid for it, and 2: He desires to see justice done.
(If you can't tell, I failed on only giving you the facts in the last two paragraphs...)

Answer
Hi, Ben!

No, I don't think it's too exotic. I think it could be very interesting. But to say that the 15th century didn't have detectives probably isn't accurate. The Ottoman Empire in that time produced the some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known. There were advancements in science, art, math and war. To think that within that framework, a person who was a brilliant detective COULDN'T exist would be odd. So build on that. Make the person a Sherlock or Poirot or Marlowe of their time. Make them someone who would study footprints in the sand for the weight and height of the attacker, or examine camel dung for destroyed written evidence of a crime. I think it could be fun, even if you don't go the magic route. In fact, a regular human up against magic could be a very fun novel. :)

Good luck with it!

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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