Thursday, April 26, 2012

Guest post: The Lure of Fantasy by Jane Toombs

THE LURE OF FANTASY  by  Jane Toombs

  Never mind that all fiction essentially is fantasy in that it isn’t “real” but created by an author.  Even as I child I knew the difference between fiction and true fantasy. I was taught by a master--Edgar Allan Poe.  

   My parents never restricted my reading, something I’m eternally grateful for.  I must have been about ten when I pulled Poe’s book of poems from the family bookcase.  It was a small black book and the printing was tiny, but I persisted. I soon realized I held magic in my hands.  I don’t claim to have understand exactly what he meant at that age, but loved the mystery of  words like “the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

I believe the mystery is what I enjoy the most about fantasy.  Not mystery as in who killed whom, but a speculative kind of mystery that Poe must have loved as much as we do.  As readers we can enter worlds that never were and enter lands that never were, but we believe in those lands, those times, and what‘s happening for the time we’re happily engrossed in the book.

I  can’t be sure when I changed from simply enjoying speculative  fiction to wanting to write it.  The first book I sold in 1973 was a gothic and was loaded with weird stuff.   I had made the heroine  of Tule Witch a nurse who was at work in an  ER in the basement of an old hospital where water dripped from pipes running across the ceiling.--a setting that actually existed at the time, but suitably spooky.  

Still, a nurse heroine doesn’t sound like fantasy.  And what I wrote didn’t seem too weird until a bit later on in the book.  I was thrilled with the sale and wrote six or seven gothics after that book which also sold, every last one of them a fantasy.    What happened?  Well, I sold another of my weird gothics to  Harlequin so long ago that they still referred to that book as a “product.”  As a matter of fact I have the rights back and eventually will scan it. But now I was a Harlequin author and I quickly discovered they wanted no part of anything weird or spooky (these were early days.)  So I had to fit in a “line.”    

Yes, I confess I did what they wanted me to.  Hey, the money was good and kept coming.  Who turns down money?

I didn’t foresee the day when I couldn’t stand to do this any longer and need to immerse myself in weirdness again. But here I am happily writing fantasy for ebooks and not making all that much money--but I’ve reached an age where I have to love what I‘m doing.  

And now, once again, I do.  Fantasy is always just beyond our reach in real life, but easy to find in books, thank heaven…  And yes, I’ve written about that ghoul who lives in a cemetery called Weir.  He’s green and in love with a human. The story is called “It Can’t Be Mine!” and is in an ebook called TEN PAST MIDNIGHT.

Ten Past Midnight Blurb:

An awkward heroine who has no sense of smell and wants to be loved. Her so-called friends pull a prank on her, which makes her so angry that when she passes the Weir Cemetery on her way home and sees someone green, she believes it's some guy dressed up for another scam and is determined to confront  the prankster. 

A hero who is a starving green ghoul living in a cemetery called Weir. He can't believe it when a human woman actually talks to him. Is it possibly she can't smell his scent, which is foul to humans?  

This is one of the weird stories in Ten Past Midnight, but it does end happily, unlike some of them,  all my books can be found at my website with buy links, or Amazon.

Ten Past Midnight may be purchased at Amazon.

Author Bio: Jane Toombs, author of ninety published books if you count novellas, lives across the road from Lake Superior with her calico cat, Kinko, in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness. She writes in most genres, but fantasy is by far her favorite.


Marsha A. Moore said...

Jane, I'm so glad you got your weirdness back. I'd hate to lose mine. Thanks for joining us today with your wonderful post.

GladysMP said...

You are wise to write what you enjoy writing. Money isn't everything.

Ella Gray said...

Great post, Jane! Looking forward to checking out your new story :)

JL Walters said...

Jane, You're one of the few scary writers I read. Love your weirdness.

Sheila said...

What a great post, Jane. Poe was one of my first reads and I was hooked on the need to write something like that. Love the deeper meaning.


Karen McCullough said...

Fascinating post, Jane. I've loved your books for a very long time, but I'm happy that you're soaking in the "weird stuff" again, since that's my preference, too.

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