Inspired by Hunter Lee’s blogpost Why Suspense? I started thinking about this shortly after reading Hunter Lee’s post about why she write’s suspense. And asked myself…”why do I write fantasy?” So here are my thoughts on the matter.
Growing up in the home I lived in fantasy was “evil”. There was no magic, no creatures of “evil”, nothing even remotely fantasy related that was allowed in the house around the time I was six. So what made me want to write fantasy? What could possibly be my motive?
Well let’s put it this way, to quote my boyfriend “kids are like sponges, they will pick up anything and everything over the years.” And it’s true. My favorite Disney movie is “Beauty and the Beast” it has been since I was very, very, VERY, little. (Trust me, all hell broke loose when my parents tried to sell that movie at a yard sale and I stole it back.), it stuck with me for years what the plot of the movie was. And many others will find different plots that movie centers around, but the one I found was “Beauty is Found Within”. It had magic in it and true love broke the curse.
But that still doesn’t explain my love of mythical beasts, especially dragons, which is something that I’ve loved since before I can remember. One thing I did remember for years after that dreaded yard sale were a few movies that just lingered in my mind.
The first one I don’t remember the name of, but it was about a magic painter with his magic paintbrush. The reason why I don’t remember all of the movie is because we never had all of it. But I thought that it was amazing, the fantastical world that introduced different kinds of creatures and one human who had to fight the monsters that threatened the valley.
The second movie that lingered in my memory was “Flight of Dragons”, it was a Ranken/Bass movie from the 70s (if you don’t know who they are they do all of the Christmas specials we see every year, Frosty the Snowman, the Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer, etc). And it was about two kinds of dragons, evil ones and good ones. That was my first experience with mythical creatures. They explained how dragons could fly, how they could breathe fire, and showed that they weren’t just there to be evil (unlike how Smaug is shown in the Hobbit (and don’t get me started on the fact that “Smaug” in the Peter Jackson movies is a Wyvern not a Dragon!) as being pure evil). That movie also inspired Miriam Arrowhead (a character from another series I’m writing) with one character “Danielle“. Miriam is even red-haired like her and is an archer.
So what does that have to do with me writing fantasy? Everything! Because of Beauty and the Beast, Flight of Dragons, and that movie I can’t remember the name of, I started to create my own little world that I could jump into on a whim. A fantastical world full of people who couldn’t possibly exist in the real world. My own little piece that was my own. And no one could take it away from me, no matter how hard they tried.
I named that little world “Jericho” after the mighty city that was rebuilt when the walls of Jericho came down (yes, that’s a bible reference). And to this day, Jericho still stands after everything that has happened to it. And so my little world still stands.
When I was younger, I used to actually go into a trance-like state and escape into that little world. In order to escape reality. I hated real life. (Note the past tense there). Real life was cruel to me. I was abused, by people with their own problems, and it wasn’t just my family either…I was beat up by two girls just because I was white and they claimed I was racist because “all white people are racist”. Isn’t that statement racist in and of itself?
Now that trance-like state only lasted for around 6 years, before I was forced out of it. And I dread to think what might have happened were I not. But once I was pulled out of it I started to come out of my shy little shell I had erected before me. I was fragile and didn’t trust anyone.
But once I was pulled out of that shell, I met some lovely girls. They are the very same girls that I dedicated my first book to. The ones who said “let’s play a game!” And on the spot I came up with a fantasy story about a girl who was transformed into a cat who had to protect a princess. And thus, Fire of the Night version 1 was born.
I didn’t know that was what I was doing though…Because when I was thirteen I was only reading American Girls, Lord of the Rings (my dad’s books), Mandie, and Boxcar Children. I was tugged into the library by my mother and she told me that since I was thirteen I was ready to read teen fiction. “Now what’s your favorite Genre?” “…What’s a Genre?” She then asked me to tell her what things I like. “Dragons.” “That’s fantasy.” She then proceeded to look through the books and found me an author I still love to this day. Tamora Pierce. She brought to life a world of fantasy that didn’t have mythical creatures until a few books into it. But it taught me how to create character that people would one day adore.
And that’s how a fantasy writer is born.
Keep writing, dudes!