I’ve recently been thinking about my choice to start writing young adult fantasy, and how that felt less like a choice, and more like destiny. Yes, that sounds a little new-agey, but it seems like that’s the way it happened. I read fantasy as a child, loved Tolkien and L’Engle and Lewis, but as I got older, the fantasy became less about the characters and more about the world. And I noticed that most fantasy was written about men saving the beautiful princess or saving the world. It just didn’t hold my interest. There were a few wonderful women fantasy writers – Patricia McKillip and Robin McKinley come to mind, but after I’d exhausted their books, it became difficult to find things I wanted to read.
So I switched to romance. Mostly regencies or suspense. Mary Steward and MM Kaye were my favories, followed by Julia Quinn and Mary Balogh. And when I wrote my own stories, they definitley followed in the footsetps of these wonderful authors. But it never felt quite right or comfortable. Perhaps I was still learning the craft, but my suspense wasn’t suspenseful, and the romance felt hollow.
I’d had a story kicking around my head that was a fantasy, but I didn’t think I could write it. But then I realized. If I wasn’t going to write what I wanted to read, who would? I like my fantasy with good characters, a strong plot, and a little bit of romance, sometimes hard to find in epic fantasy. And after I’d written the first draft, I realized it was leaning more towards young adult. I’d finally found my voice.
So somehow, it all fell into place. It had only taken a dozen half-finished romance novels, and two completed ones to realize that wasn’t where my talents were. And now, I have a laundry list of books I want to write, all with a fantasy element.
Even if I never get published, I have enough to keep me busy for years!