I have several ‘libraries’ in my house (cue glorified bookcases groaning because they are overstuffed with books, but who is telling this story?). One whole set of shelves, in fact the whole bookcase/library, is devoted to fantasy. With the odd sci-fi thrown in to the mix.
Shelves of elves, dragons, wizards, swords and magic, and the occasional princess to boot. And yes, I know there is a word for me. Obsessed geek or nerd has been thrown my way more than once. Even escapist! As though these things are an insult, which, I am here to tell you, they are not! I hear compliments in each one of them.
Escapist they hiss.
Reality challenged, I murmur.
Seriously, what has reality done for you lately? Kids yelling at you about how much you should show your love for them by buying the latest i-something? Boss who never appreciates what you do at work even though your kids have forgotten what you look like?
The idea of fantasy appeals for many reasons, not the least because I don’t actually have to live there. Yes, I’d love to know a dragon and a wizard. Or better yet, to be a wizard and magic up something wonderful. But a world with no running hot water, where getting stabbed by a sword is not something we laugh about but an actual possibility… these things are scary! But reading about them is exciting.
It is simply the idea of gallant heroes (or not, if you watch Game of Thrones), swashbuckling and magicking their way through tidy adventures that sends me running to get the latest instalment. I love it. I read them with such an appetite I have no place left to put another book in this fantasy library and I may almost be ready to … go digital! Shock horror.
I can’t get enough of how each author owns their own bit of the genre and re-invents archetypes to fit into their worlds.
It was this passion for heroes that led me to create Novarmere.
Here’s the thing. If you are a writer, or ever dreamed of being one, eventually the lure to create something in the genre that calls its siren song to you, will hound you till you do. I’d written about assassins and a world of adult action, but then my genre, fantasy, called. I started dreaming about a young boy who travels to a far off land. He meets a dragon the size of a cat, who sits upon his shoulders and chuckles smoke in his eyes… and suddenly I couldn’t write another thing till Daniel and Nilofar had had their adventures.
The thing is, I told myself, if I move over to fantasy, I don’t have to pay by the same rules as I would when writing general fiction. I could create a whole new world that no-one had ever heard of and populate it with people, creatures and magicks that only I knew the rules of!
Throw away driving on this side of the road or the other – I’ll ride a dragon. Throw away sending my kids to school, then uni and making them become a tax accountant. I’d be free.
Except – there are rules and school is a great place to put a young character even if it is just to give them something to get out of. And university is still a great institute of learning even in a completely new country called Voxlund (neighbour of Novarmere).I also learned that magic has its limits and cannot prevent a war, but heroes and dragons can. Somehow, my dive into a new world to escape rules led me to a whole new set of them.
I’m still there, rules or no rules, and I still completely lose myself in every fantasy novel I read; and I still dream of what happens next in Novarmere.
And the best part is – they are yet to meet a tax accountant…