Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Hywela Lyn

Welcome Hywela Lyn, Fantasy Author with her heart in Wales!

Amber: Why do you Write Fantasy?
I've always loved the romance of fantasy, the sheer escapism of it. As a country person, I hate the noise and bustle of the present day, with the smells and pollution of modern transport. I love world building, drawing on the legends and beautiful, wild scenery of my native Wales. I am in my element when creating settings in sparsely populated worlds, where the usual mode of transportation is either something as basic as the horse, or as futuristic as teleportation. In fact the horse plays a large part in why I write fantasy. I've always been horse crazy and ridden since a child. I usually manage to have a horse or two in most of my stories, and they are very much at home in a fantasy setting (where they sometimes sprout a single horn. :) )

Another thing I love about the fantasy/ SF genre is the challenge. If you give your characters certain powers, those powers have to be logical - and finite, otherwise everything is too easy, there is no conflict and the reader would soon tire of the story. So for every gift or power the hero or heroine possesses, there has to be a downside. The challenge is then for them to be able to escape a tricky situation by their wits, and that's always fun to write.

Amber: Does being Welsh help you write fantasy?
Hywela: I'm sure it does.  Wales is a beautiful country, abounding in legends and folklore.  I was brought up on tales of Twm Sion Catti (a sort of Welsh Robin Hood) and legends such as 'the bells of Cantre'r Gwaelod' (a village which was drowned beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay.) Many of these legends and folktales sparked ideas for stories or characters,  and the rugged landscape itself was an inspiration. Although I now live in England, I visit Wales as often as I can and it never fails to revitalize me and energize my muse.

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Hywela: For the same reasons as a writer does, I think.  The chance to escape the cares and stresses of modern life, for a while, to travel in their imaginations to distant worlds or times and the thrill of the unexpected.  In fantasy one never quite knows what dangers  the reader will pit the characters against - a werewolf or dragon, a blast of magic or a light beam from a laser gun.
Amber: What about the differences between American tastes in fantasy and your UK readers?
 Hywela: I think fantasy is pretty much universal.  Look at the success of  'Lord Of The Rings' on both sides of the Atlantic, or the popularity in both countries of authors such as Anne McCaffrey and Ursula Le  Guin!  Startrek remains very popular over here and the British SF series from the late 70s to early  80s, 'Blakes 7' has a cult following in the USA, not to mention 'Dr Who' from the same stable. So really I think if the quality is good, readers will love it whatever country they're in.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Hywela: Absolutely! In fact I started writing because I wanted to tell a story , and putting it down on paper was the main object. (Yes, I wrote my first stories by hand, although it's difficult to believe now.) The story needed to be told and it didn't occur to me to wonder if anyone else would ever read it. As I said earlier, I love creating new worlds and situations for my characters. They would nag me to death if I didn't write. It's wonderful and immensely rewarding when others read and enjoy one's work, but I think most authors write just because they have to - and they love it!
Although most of my writing tends to be futuristic, the worlds I create are very much rooted in the fantasy genre, and usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature. My characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself. I love to write about heroes who are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable - and of course, handsome and hunky. My heroines are also strong and courageous, but retain their femininity - able to look after themselves but not afraid to accept help if it's needed. However difficult the journey, evil will be overcome and love will always win in the end.

Amber: Tell me about your books.
Hywela: I've always been fascinated by the stars, and speculated on what strange worlds might exist in the vastness of space, and what it would be like to visit them. It gradually dawned on me, however, that whatever I wrote, it always had a strong love interest and I realized that as well as a fantasy writer, I was also a romance writer!
My first novel, Starquest a futuristic romance released by The Wild Rose Press was originally written as a short story, and was followed by a sequel Children Of The Mist. I'm currently working on a third story in the series. My story 'Dancing with Fate' was written as part of the Wild Rose Press's Song Of The Muses series, and is pure fantasy, rather than futuristic. My main character is Terpsichore, Muse of Dance and I sent her back to 5th Century Wales, where her story touched on the Arthurian legends. I also drew on several Welsh myths and legends for this tale.

To win a $6 Wild Rose Press Gift Certificate, 
join my Newsletter Group and email me to tell me 
why you enjoy fantasy. Entries close on 1st June 2010


  1. WONDERFUL Interview, Hywela! I could "hear" your love of Wales in all your descriptions.

    Love that bookcover too!

    Happy Sales and hugs,
    Kari Thomas

  2. Amber, thanks so much for having me here, I really enjoyed taking part in your fascinating 'Why do I write fantasy' series and you ask great questions!

  3. Thank you so much Kari, I'm really happy you enjoyed the interview. Yes, I have to admit I'm passionate about my homeland! Tamra Westberry did a great job on that cover, didn't she! I imagined the scene and it was as if she drew it straight out of my mind!
    Hugs back!

  4. Hi Lyn, what beautiful words straight from the heart. Your love of legends inspire
    your stories and being a wee bit Welsh myself, I can certainly relate to the rugged
    beauty of the land. I love all your books and am one of your biggest fans. Looking
    forward to book 3 in the Starquest series.

    Love and Hugs,

  5. Sharon dear friend, thank you so much for your kind words and unflagging support. As one of your biggest fans, as well, your words truly mean a great deal to me.

    Love and hugs to you too!

  6. I do agree that reading/writing fantasy is because there's an escapism element in us to where we wish to either escape from our boring, stressful, or harsh life. In fantasy, especially in other worlds, for a moment in time, we can believe we are elsewhere and all obstacles will be overcome.

    And you do such a wonderful job of it, Lyn. The imagery you master of describing other worlds is truly unique. I'd love to visit them -- I think! I'm not too fond of the cold, so I wouldn't care for Nelfheim, and that one planet with carnivorous plant life -- hmm, I think I'll stay on the ship! LOL

  7. Lula, Thanks you so much for your kind words, my dear friend and crit partner. LOL, if you ever visit Niflheim I'll make sure you have a warm cloak of thick warm icecat wool (no cruelty involved!) but you're wise to avoid the carnivorous plants on the planet Lyrrh! :) Thank you again for all your support, help and advice.

  8. I love it - an Arizona writer interviewing a Welsh writer - two of the most beautiful and mystical places on Earth.

    I can hardly wait to check out your books, Hywela. And so sad that I'm in the dissertation writing phase of my uni sojourn in Aberystwyth, and have only a little more than 3 months left in Wales. But there's always other lifetimes, no?

    PS - I like your spirited blog, too.


  9. Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. Good luck with the dissertation and enjoy your last few months in Wales. (Have you had chance to visit Port Meirion yet by the way. It's in North Wales, a fair distance from Aber. but well worth the visit - it's where the original 'Prisoner' was filmed.

    As you say, there are other lifetimes and we might both get to return to the mystical land of Wales one day!

  10. I love the Welsh legends. One of my favorite interpretations of The Mabinogion is by Evangeline Walton. She brings the tales alive and her writing is magical.

    Your story set in the 5th century caught my attention because I love that time period.

  11. You write Lyn because it is part of your soul to be able to take a person and put them into a totally different world from where they really are. You help us escape and that's what I for one read for. I read your wonderful books, filled with imagery, because they are wonderful. I can hardly wait for the next one!!
    I hear you are a fantastic person too. As a matter of fact I have it from a good source that you have a heart of gold!!

  12. Lyn,

    What a lovely interview. I didn't know you were from Wales. My hubby talks to a couple of guys in Wales often on his ham radio.

  13. As always, super interview, Lyn! Isn't writing fantasy simply the best? And what a wonderful fantasy writer you are!

    Amber, great hosting! Love the idea, "Why I Write Fantasy." :)


  14. Hi Kelly, thanks for stopping by, yes I really enjoyed going back to the 5th Century for my 'muse' story!

  15. Mary, my sweet friend, you make me blush with your kind words. I hear you also have a heart of pure gold!

  16. Sandy, thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment. It must be so interesting to talk to people all over the world by radio! I live in England at the moment, but my heart is still very much in my homeland where I lived and worked for most of my life. I hope to return before too long!

  17. Hello Sky, thanks so much for stopping by - you're a darn pretty good fantasy writer yourself! I agree, this is a great idea of Anber's for a blog series!

  18. HYWELA--I've always heard that Wales is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. If there were teletransportation, I'd go there! You have a real love of your genre, and it really shows when you talk about it. It's very different from Western Romance, except that both are considered the last frontier, and the content and philosophy behind both are similar. Very good--I enjoyed your thoughts. Nice to see you, too! Celia

  19. Hi Celia

    Sorry to be so late answering your kind comments - I thought I had but it obviously didn't 'take'. Yes, I actually see a lot of similarities between futuristic and Westerns, the Western genre is another one that i really love.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and your lovely words.