Ever since I started reading books on my own and not at the instruction of a primary school teacher (in fact there’s a bit of a quandary there. The first book I ever read on my own was The Hobbit but it was only because my primary school class instigated it. While we were reading the book at school I got so annoyed when the teacher stopped at the end of a chapter and we had to wait till the following week to find out what happened next, I went and got the book myself (“Mummy, I want a book called The Hobbit” and voilà, it appeared as if by magic.)) I was so fascinated with it and started reading—and finished the book—on my own. We were doing a class project on The Hobbit which included a mahoosive piece of wall art based on Smaug. I still remember it (35 years on) to this day. It was such a brilliantly memorable experience, one I’ll never forget.
*Note: I first read The Hobbit in the 80’s and I thought it was the most amazing sprout of imagination I’d ever encountered. Okay, I was only 12 years old but hey, that book was written in 1937, forty five years earlier! And it’s still going strong! Talk about a timeless classic! The Hobbit had opened my mind promoting the idea that you could make stories out of anything.
The next book, or should I say, trilogy, I read (other than the crap the school was throwing at me) was The Dragonlance Chronicles. Wow. I was totally hooked from there on in. I was into fantasy. Low fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, whichever, it was in my blood. My veins had been reforged by Theros Ironfeld and his Silver Arm of Ergoth whilst wielding The Hammer of Kharas!
From then on in it was all kinds of fantasy shit. Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, Runequest & Stormbringer to name but a few RPG’s that I wanted to actually trade my real-life and live there-in. Not that I didn’t enjoy my real-life, it was just…boring at the time, because nothing really happened. There were no cataclysmic events or world shattering discoveries. There were no devastating attacks from demons or dragons, no secret, undiscovered dungeons to explore, no hordes of treasure to fight over. No great eye of evil impending doom to conquer at the very last moment.
But it was deeply instilled in my blood. I was like a sponge for tales on sword and sorcery. If a book had elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, dragons or unicorns… no wait…not stupid unicorns…uhm, wait, let me think about this…(hmm, Terry Brooks wrote about unicorns, so did C.S.Lewis and then there was that film ‘Legend’ with Tom Cruise and also the Unicorn in My Little Pony that my daughter loves to watch…) okay, I’ve decided, let’s leave unicorns in that list. They can be pretty cool…I suppose.
So, anyway, I was really, right into Fantasy as a genre. But then I matured (a little (in fact- after re-reading this I wonder why does one have to mature from Fantasy? This is a problem I think I’ve been fighting most of my adult life, but one I think I’ll leave for another blog post.)). I wanted something more grown up. More realistic to what life was really like. I started to read stuff from G.R.R.Martin, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams. All brilliant. All adult reads.
So then, as I got older, into my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, reading everything that the genre had to offer and somewhere in between that time I went on to an urban fantasy extravaganza. I read books which shared my passion on magic and fantastical creatures but seemed to be centered around the present day and age. This was new to me, at the time, I’d never experienced a story like it, the fact that all these supernatural creatures could exist, in a story, in the real world. I was amazed and tuned into a completely new set of life-changing exploitation’s of the mind.
This harvested in me a desire to create my own stories involving this real world and the kind of supernatural, fantastical and downright diabolical pandemonium that could ensue from my own creative meanderings. I was hooked on creative, theological decomposition’s and the infinite proposal of ‘what if’.
Several hundred books later (yes, I’ve literally read thousands of books in my lifetime so far – however, I’m including comics in that count and I don’t care what you say about that) and I’m trying to write a supernatural dark urban fantasy. I love the story I’m writing. It’s more than pretty neat.
The thing is…it’s not epic fantasy. It’s not the kind of writing I love to read. It’s set in the real world but with other-worldly shenanigans, which, I suppose, is just about half-way there. However, my forte, I believe, is in epic fantasy and I’m not 100% sure why I’ve ended up writing an urban supernatural thriller with connotations of mystery and police procedural.
I’m giving it my all. There’s no doubt about that. I’ve written shit-loads of stuff including high fantasy and science fiction but nothing has endured the intensity, the determination, the focus and the single-mindedness that this story has. I’m pretty impressed with myself so far and it’s only the first draft.
However, my goal, many years down the line and after I’ve completed this current epic tale, is to write about a world where the geography is unknown and the animal life is far from ordinary. The world I’m writing about just now is the real world. Well, it’s the real world but maybe taking a step back. But wait!
Concentrate. Concentrate really hard.
Focus your power. We all have power. Focus it.
And then use it to do whatever the hell you want.
And if you don’t, then you’ve lost…
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving you Americans!