I am one of a number of bloggers taking part in this event celebrating HarperVoyager’s digital authors. Nancy K. Wallace has written a guest post for my blog. I really hope you enjoy reading it.
Literary Magic: Crafting the Perfect Concoction of Fact and Fantasy!
By Nancy K. Wallace
Fantasy lures us with rich detail, imagined realms, and unique creatures. It allows us to explore the depths of uniquely magical places we have never visited before. If the plot seems to lead down a familiar path, we are warned that its borders are not those we are acquainted with. What lurks within its hedgerows may grant our fondest dreams or send us racing from our worst nightmares.
What part could fact possibly play in this magical world of invention and imagination? More than you might think. Most fantasies contain some factual material threading through the sparkling, golden cords that bind the story together. They offer something that grounds it in the real world without disturbing our “suspension of disbelief” in a new magical one.
From the very beginning, fantasy writers have found inspiration in history and legend. Tolkien compared his novels to a sort of literary soup, complaining that the critics didn’t need to see the bones that had been simmered to make the broth. Oddly enough, it’s by identifying the bones of a story that we often catch a glimpse into the author’s mind, and the fledgling spark of a novel’s inception.
The Legend of the Beast of Gevaudan, a giant wolf that terrorized 18th century France by killing innocent women and children, anchors my novel, Among Wolves, in a place very much like pre-revolutionary France. The culture, people, and social issues are certainly comparable, but that’s where the similarity ends. Llisé isn’t France and my wolves are not Gevaudan’s wolves.
Stephen Moore’s forthcoming novel, Graynelore, which will be released Aug 13th 2015 by Harper Voyager, also had its beginnings in historical fact. Moore found its roots in his own familial tie to the 16th century Reivers on the border of Scotland and England. He used historical fact to trigger the plot of a totally unique fantasy.
Perhaps it is because fantasy is tied so closely to truth that it appeals to us so much. When we read fantasy, we become one with whatever magical world we have permitted ourselves to enter. It allows us to travel its roads, marvel at its sunsets, rejoice with its lovers, and weep at its heroes’ graves. We breathe its air, smell its exotic fragrances, and touch and feel treasures we have only dreamed of before. We grow to care deeply for the companions on our journey and are reluctant to leave them behind when the story ends. Ultimately, fantasy speaks to our hearts. It touches our souls, leaving us tearstained or joyful, tortured or terrified, but never quite the same. It leaves us wistful, wanting, and eager for more.