Fantasy is what I love to read—so writing what I loved to read was a natural. When I started reading fantasy in the eighties( C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, for example), I soon discovered that fantasy was one genre in which I could be sure to find strong female protagonists.
Some readers of this blog may not be aware that there was a time when it was rare to find strong female characters in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Author Eileen Kernaghan remembers:
“…later (late 60’s) I discovered Phyllis Gotlieb’s lovely “Sunburst”, with its teen-aged female protagonist, and Joanna Russ’s hard-bitten professional assassin Alyx…what a thrill to stumble across them, and what possibilities they opened up for women writers!”
Eileen has gone on to write eight novels, poetry as well as non-fiction and she has received multiple awards for her Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I enjoy world creation, even if it’s only an “alternate earth” such as the setting in my book, Elanraigh: The Vow. You write your own laws and set your own boundaries. I’m very drawn to portraying beasts of power, such as the grey wolf of Elanraigh, as thinking, intelligent creatures that can, at will, communicate with a chosen human. (This undoubtedly stems from the many times I’ve been convinced my cat was staring at me with great emotive intent…feed me, pet me, provide me warmth, I possess the keyboard…type around me…). I love the unexpected that can always happen in a fantasy—be it a sentient forest or reptilian humanoids.
I asked other speculative fiction writers what drew them to the fantasy genre. Results poured in from my writers group and blog buddies, and not too surprisingly, they shared much in common.
One author writes, “I like to write fantasy because I’m not restricted to real life situations and physics.”
This is interesting to consider because even in the writer’s created world, its beings will have emotions based on the writer’s own spectrum of knowledge acquired through the writer’s experience. Our human reality and our dreams will shape our fantasies, and of course, this is why our readers can connect with and care about the characters and their story.
Author Dina Rae writes paranormal using the mythology of differing religions: voodoo, witchcraft, angels, demons, etc. Whereas author Linda Hays-Gibbs prefers to weave her “what-ifs” in a specific historical era. Other authors tell me they are interested in exploring the human spectrum of morals and values…there just happen to be past-humans (i.e.: ghosts) in the picture.
I feel that in today’s mechanistic society we are so often watchers who feel impotent to change or challenge the world around us. In our fantasies we can create heroes who through courage, or just plain perseverance, will right wrongs and make a difference. All Fantasy and Paranormal authors crave the freedom to set their own parameters, and then love to have their readers join them there.