“I don’t usually read fantasy.” I’ve head this a lot lately, especially from the people who’ve had a chance to read my upcoming novel, The Darkness of Light.
To be truthful, when I sat down to write it, I hadn’t intended to write a fantasy novel at all- it just happened. Before I wrote it, I probably would have said that I don’t read fantasy either. And if we’re talking about sword-wielding dragon slayers, that’s definitely not my first choice. I’m more of a paranormal, horror, historical kind of reader. If anything falls within those definitions, I’m on it!
So how did I end up writing a fantasy novel and why do my “non-fantasy” readers like it so much?
Well, while my novel is certainly labeled fantasy, it was constructed in such a way that it reads like the novels I love to read. I wrote the book I wanted to read. If I changed my characters to let’s say…vampires, then my book might be called a historical paranormal novel. But because I used mythology instead of folklore (there is a difference between the two), my book is automatically considered fantasy.
There are many sub-genres within the fantasy genre. When we think of the sword-wielding dragon slayers or completely made up worlds, we are talking about Epic Fantasy. In epic fantasy there’s usually some kind of major threat to the world and the protagonist must overcome the villain in order to save their race…usually.
My novel is more of a Low Fantasy, in that the storyline revolves more around the characters struggles and development. The threat centers on the characters and not the entire race of beings, and the setting is mostly real world.
Then we have to consider the labels. If you say you don’t read fantasy, but you love Twilight, Werewolves are your new obsession, or Anne Rice is your favorite author (like she is mine), then guess what? You DO read fantasy! If you like any kind of paranormal anything, you DO read fantasy! BOOM! You’ve just been mind blown.
That’s right. While the industry has attached the label of “Paranormal” to these kinds of books, they are actually fantasy. Anne Rice has been labeled many things: Gothic horror writer, Paranormal writer, Dark Fantasy writer….Wait!, What? It’s true, Anne Rice writes dark fantasy, as in, it involves dark, supernatural characters that live in our world. The Twilight series is also a Paranormal Fantasy…any kind of paranormal, supernatural, ghosts, witches, werewolves, bagpipe people…(you get the point)…is fantasy.
Now that we’ve settled that, I would also like to point out that millions of readers world-wide have read the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings. What do you think those are? Kitten tales…NOPE! That’s fantasy as well.
So you see folks, while you think you might not read fantasy, you really do, you just didn’t know it. And as far as my book goes, I wrote it because it was a book I wanted to read, but it didn’t exist. You won’t find dragons in my book, or any other kind of strange creature. But you will find a sword wielding hottie, and supernatural characters in a real historical setting… hence the label: Historical Fantasy