There be dragons
I’m not sure if I’ve told you about the fantasy novel I’m writing with three women. I think I’ve briefly mentioned it but no details. All my life I’ve been a reader. Always have my nose stuck in a book. But mainly it’s been historical fiction, non-fiction history or popular science and biographies. I have a confession dear reader. You may gasp. I think I might be amongst a handful of people on this planet who has not read any Harry Potter books. And I’ve never even watched Star Wars. So here’s the ironic thing: me, writing a fantasy novel.
As a kid, I just didn’t like the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs business. Bambi was way too cutsey pie for me. I do remember reading Wind in the Willows and that has remained a favourite. But I never got into the whole fantasy world thing. But one day, I was asked by a woman in China to write with her and another woman who lives in Texas. They already knew each other and found me on Flickr, where I run a group. Both of them were well down the road of writing together. The woman in China is an American who is a published author and poet. Gulp. But we started off writing together. I provided the plot and away we went. Working collaboratively on a wiki.
Unfortunately, the woman in China had to return to the US because the Chinese changed their visa conditions for foreigners. Now she’s in California and too busy to write for the moment. So that left the Texan lady and me. She actually came to Australia last October to meet me. We get on very well and have continued writing.
Because I’ve never read any fantasy novels to speak of, I sought the help of a Gen Y person who promptly looked at me like I was an alien when I announced I’d never been into fantasy novels. I was given the strict instruction that the number one author I should read is Robin Hobb. I was a tad worried that I was going to encounter mystical dragons, flying wands, magicians or a host of unbelievable creatures. I can cope with Avatar because there is a theme I can relate to: pillaging of the environment. But when it comes to talking dragons or cats that can morph into a human or shift shape, that’s harder for me.
So I bought the Farseer Trilogy and have been engrossed ever since. I have even missed my train stop a couple of times. I am staggered by Hobb’s imagination and how closely you can relate to the characters, including a wolf. I don’t understand why she is not as well-known as JK Rowling. Her writing is rich with visual imagery, action-packed and emotive. I plan to read all of her works. This trilogy has been a great way to dip my toes into fantasy writing but I seek your help dear reader.
No doubt many of you have spent years reading fantasy of all sorts. So I’d like some recommendations. What’s your favourite fantasy novel? Who is your favourite fantasy author? What should I be reading? Help!