Thursday, September 13, 2012

What is Fantasy? ~guest post by Jane Toombs

We're pleased to have author Jane Toombs here with us again at the Speculative Salon. She offers an interesting post that answers the question--What is fantasy? Enjoy her post and also, please, check out her latest fantasy release, Taken In

                                              What Is Fantasy?

The dictionary describes it as: “The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy.   Also  literary or dramatic fiction characterized by  highly fanciful or supernatural elements. Illusion; hallucination.”

    Ah, supernatural.  In other words, paranormal.  That’s the sub-genre of fantasy I usually tend to write. How each author approaches fantasy tends to be different.  Take werewolves for example.

   Some authors apparently feel that since wolves run in packs,  therefore their man-wolf or woman-wolf also has a pack. That’s certainly one way to present them.  But I don’t feel that way.  This being is not only a wolf but a man.  Men do not need to run in packs so my werewolves tend to be loners.

    Sometimes my shifters aren’t any species of animal, they’re simply a beast when they shift. This is true of my MOONRUNNER  TRILOGY--beasts that can stand erect, but can also run on all fours. After all, since it’s my “creative imagination” I can do anything I chose to do as long as I keep to my own guidelines of what such a creature can do or not do.

    When I wrote my chapter of  The  Guide To Writing Paranormal  Novels, Volume 1, I mention this.  My chapter is Dropped Eyes And Unattached Tentacles, where I also go into what bothers me as a reader--having a character, whether paranormal or not doing something impossible--like a human dropping his eyes or a creature flinging off a tentacle to capture prey.  While humans cannot literally drop their eyes, an imaginary creature can certainly fling off a tentacle if necessary, but as a reader I need to be prepared to know this, even if the prey has no idea it can do Though octopi, as far as I know, cannot detach tentacles, imaginary creatures can do anything the author sets them up to do.

   I agree that in a story, it might be the character does not know what an imaginary creature’s abilities are, so the reader finds out along with the character. That’s fair enough.

   I call many of my stories Paranormal Suspense Romances, because that’s what they are. I always try to keep the reader aware of what any shifters I write about can do. But in some cases, like my DARKNESS OF DRAGONS TRILOGY, some of the characters don’t even know they’re capable of shifting, so the reader has to find out when they do.   

  Fairy tales, whether or not they’re meant to illustrate a point, are also fantasies. In many cases about cultures which no longer exist. I write those, too, in my UNDERWORLD SERIES about gates between Earth and other worlds.

   My latest trilogy, DAGON HOUSE, has the first book out now--Taken In.  And this one is about ghosts.  Whether or not they do exist, they still fall into the fantasy genre.  I personally have never seen or felt a ghost, but I know others who believe they have.  I never disbelieve what others tell me they’ve felt because I guess I sort of like to believe they could exist.    
BLURB for Taken In:
Gail Sarandon flees New York City after seeing the murder of a man she knows--with both the hit man and Jason Tregarth, a Special Agent following her trail. Jason finds her first, but the hit man arrives before he can get her to safety. Gail with him, Jason manages to elude the hit man, only to crash on a lonely mountain road, totaling the car. He's injured, but Gail’s able to get him to the only shelter around--Dagon House. She believes they're safe, but she's wrong...

All of my books are featured on my web page along with buy links.

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