Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Renee Wildes

Welcome Renee Wildes, fantasy romance author who has never met a unicorn or elf she didn't like.

Amber: Why do you Write Fantasy?
Renee: I grew up reading Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey, so it was a natural progression for me to switch from writing horse stories when I was six to writing fairytales when I was sixteen. And I am a HUGE (totally GINORMOUS) Joseph Campbell fan. My muse is a big red dragon, so my books got darker and edgier as I matured.

Amber: Authors I've interviewed so far aren’t writing about swords/sorcery/elves/dragons. How you work that into the romance?
Renee: They totally go hand in hand. Fantasy is good over evil, and romance is love conquers all - so it's a win/win situation. I think there's a huge draw to "happily-ever-after." My heroes and heroines meet on a bigger quest and fall in love along the way. It's totally 50/50, except my heroes are elves and werewolves and my heroines are dragons, selkies, dream faeries and assassin nuns.

My villains are demon-possessed despots, genocidal royalty, and most recently goblins who don't know how to work dwarven magic properly! I'm a Navy brat and a cop's kid, so I use a lot of warrior arch-types. They say write what you know! I'm also the only vet tech in a family of nurses, so that's where all the critters come from.

Amber: Tell me about your red dragon muse.
Renee: I started my serious writing career with short series contemporaries, only the weird, twisted dragon soul who drew the short straw and became my muse knows. And she's not talking. I actually wrote two contemporaries - Second Chances and An Angel For Gabriel. Then I learned POV, and that red dragon grabbed me by the throat and said to knock the whole contemporary-thing off. Very direct creatures, dragons. And so the "Guardians of Light" series was born.

Amber: How did the Guardians of Light begin?.
Renee: It started w/an image of a girl kneeling in a burning room. (Dragon muse, remember?) When I learned she STARTED the fire, I went to my then-critique partners and asked, "Do I do something with this?" And Duality was born. When it won in the 2006 WisRWA Fab 5 SilverQuill Award in Paranormal, I remember meeting one of my judges at a chapter meeting and her saying, "YOU wrote Duality? I LOVED that story." I pitched it to Angela James from Samhain at the 2007 NJ RWA Put Your Heart In A Book Conference, they bought it. Bk 2, Hedda's Sword followed. Lycan Tides’ ebook comes out July 2009 and coming in print May 2010. Bk 4, Dust of Dreams, comes out in ebook July 2010. All the characters and lands are interwoven in a grand tapestry, although each story line stands alone.

Amber: I see from your website that you teach world building.
Renee: One of the things I've become "branded" or pegged for, as to what readers can expect when they pick up my books, is the level of worldbuilding. Culture, politics, religion, geography and description. Mostly putting my characters in the unfamiliar - having them learn as they go in a sink or swim scenario. I have a "6 Senses" class that's geared more for beginning writers, an intermediate "Deep POV" class, and a "World-building" class for more advanced writers that builds off the first two. Worldbuilding depends a lot on deep POV, because the entire story is told from one or two characters' viewpoints. I love to have conflicting cultures and religions, b/c that's what's in todays news. Readers can relate. A warrior and a single mom are going to have different priorities - how to make them compatible? Today's fiction needs more than conflicting personalities - characters are products of the world around them. Part upbringing, part environment.

Amber: Any thing special that helps to with your worlds?
Renee: One of the things I do when I write is listen to appropriate cultural music to set the story. Duality was written to Medaeival Baebes, Hedda's Sword was written to Nordic bands Garmarna, Hedningarna and Varttina, Lycan Tides was written to Celtic Lunasa & Leahy, and Dust of Dreams was written to Nightwish and Warlock. I use Axel Rudi Pell for battle scenes and Enya and Kate Price for love scenes.
I take a standard norm and flip it on its ear. Duality is basically a Cinderella story - if Cinderella were a half-dragon fire mage w/a homicidal temper. Hedda's Sword is basically Sleeping Beauty - if Sleeping Beauty were an assassin nun. (And Prince Charming isn't a prince at all.)

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Renee: I think for readers it's the escapism - the magical trip to someplace long ago and far far away. It's where things can be worse than real life but somehow good always triumphs over evil. It gives us hope.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Renee: I already have - I started when I was 16 and got published when I was 40! And when the muse strikes I write - even when I know there's no market for whatever it is... I can't NOT write.

Learn more about 
Renee Wildes’ 
Books and Worlds 
on her website.


  1. Happy Birthday Renee. Great interview. I love fantasy cause it takes me to another life/time/place. And I can get away from everyday life and relax.
    Sue B

  2. Happy birthday, Renee!! I love reading fantasy, too--I enjoyed reading just straight fantasy when I was younger (i.e., David Eddings--loved the Belgariad!), and was delighted to discover more recently that writers are writing fantasy/romance! How perfect! I get to enjoy the world-building and story and plot along with a lovely dose of HEA ;) Thankfully for us readers, you writers follow your muse!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  3. Happy Birthday Renee! First of all wonderful interview second the reason I love fantasy so much as it takes us into a whole other world where the possibilities are endless. You can achieve so much in that field and better yet there is to real rules. For me this area is a place where the ropes come off and the mind can have a free range to go anywhere it wants. So I say let it explore. Kristal x

  4. Like you, fantasy was my first love - and still is. Leaping into another world where magic lives and fantastic creatures populate the landscape is heaven.

  5. Happy birthday! Great interview. I love fantasy--in my case, urban fantasy--because it lets me ask the "what if..." question and then take the answers in new and unexpected places, where magic hasn't fallen victim to science and the human condition can be explored without a human in sight!

  6. Thanks guys!
    Wow, great answers/comments! I think all writers started out as readers and write what we love. The world-building is definitely the defining factor. I love stretching my imagination!

  7. I like fantasy because anything goes and you don't have to settle for the norm. When I read, I like to get away from everyday life.

  8. I don't read a lot of fantasy novels but I'm hoping to correct that sometime soon. Honestly I mostly read romance novels and that's mostly because I like going to different worlds and exploring what's beyond my bedroom door.

    I agree with Suzanne when she said that reading fantasy let's you ask the question "what if..."
    for me my reason for reading fantasy novels would be because I get to let my overactive imagination run wild without having to worry about it being hindered by the real world.

  9. I didn't know I'd be hosting a Birthday Party.
    Happy Birthday Renee. Hope you got enough cake.

  10. Happy Birthday!!
    I read fantasy because it helps me get faraway in my mind from my life.

  11. Fantasy is the ultimate getaway! Pure escapism, and the fact that the good guys always win is DEFINITELY a refreshing change from real life!

    The birthday party was fun! I got the movie Avatar, which I LOVE! Today my Chow puppy went in for eyelid surgery, so trying not to think about that too much. She can come home tomorrow and I just hope she doesn't look like a black-haired Joan Rivers!

  12. I missed the party! Im a day late, but Happy Birthday Renee!
    LOVE your covers! And I love your plot ideas; you give the paranormal genre a new twist that is very intriguing. Congrats on all your books!

    hugs, Kari Thomas Paranormal Romance Author,

    Please check out the books at and let me know which book you would like me to send you.