Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - James Hartley

Welcome James Hartley, whose writing mixes science fiction, urban fantasy & mystery!

Amber: Why do you write Fantasy?
Jim: A large part of the answer is that I can't help it! All my life I've been a day-dreamer, with all these stories floating around inside my head. I've made a few earlier attempts at writing, but this time I'm really into it. My reading, all my life, has been very heavily weighted with Fantasy and Science Fiction. So that's what is in my head, and that's what comes out on the paper. A lot of what I do is Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, adding magic or other supernatural ideas to ordinary backgrounds. I don't do too much "High" fantasy or Swords and sorcery, but if I get an idea that looks good I'll give it a shot. And of course there's Science Fiction ... and sometimes I'll write something and it's hard to tell which it is.

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Jim: Fantasy is a literature of ideas. It makes you think, but in an enjoyable way. Plus, it breaks down the mental chains and widens our horizons, and gets us away from the banalities of the real world. Of course, I have run into people who don't like Fantasy ... but I can't quite figure those people out!

Amber: Tell me how you mix fantasy with sci-fi?
Jim: In one sense it's very easy ... just have Buck Rogers meet a coven of witches. But to have it come out making some sense is a little harder! I have one story I'm working on where an Astrophysicist has a wormhole experiment go wrong, and she lands in a sword and sorcery world where she discovers she can do Magic. And in my book Magic Is Faster Than Light which is due out next May, a generation spaceship full of witches travel on a 190 year voyage to a star only their descendants will see. But the ship's Air Purifier is defective and they'll never make it ... until one witch gets the idea of using a magic potion as fuel and thus achieving Faster-Than-Light travel.

Amber: Do you think male writers approach fantasy differently than women?
Jim: Yes, definitely! Based on a lot of the mailing lists, it looks to me like the women writing Fantasy tend to have much more of a Romance element. Not all of them, of course. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing ... each writer should follow his or her own Muse. It's just the way it looks to me.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Jim: I've got a few of those stories lying around on my computer. Anyone want to buy one? But like I said earlier, I have all these stories floating around in my head, and they won't go away! But at least if I write them down they get out of the way for some new stories!

James Hartley is a former computer programmer originally from northern New Jersey, who now lives in sunny central Florida. He published a fantasy novel, "Teen Angel"and currently has two  Fantasy novels contracted with MuseItUp Publishing.
"The Ghost of Grover's Ridge" is due out October 1 and "Magic Is Faster Than Light" in May, 2011. His WIP is a fantasy murder mystery (!?) tentatively titled "Cop With a Wand."

Details of James Hartley's books, plus free samples of his stories, can be seen on his website. He has had over fifty short stories published in the "Desolate Places," "Strange Mysteries 1 & 2," " Book of Exodi"   and " Christmas in Outer Space"  anthologies and in various e-zines and print magazines.

For more information 
check out James Hartley's author page 


  1. Excellent interview. I now had the pleasure of learning more about James.

  2. Great interview Jim. It's always nice to hear what makes the author 'tick'

  3. Hi Jim,
    I love the mixed genres. They make great reading. The one with the witches on the space ship in Faster than Light sounds like a winner too. Can't wait to read them all.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great interview Jim and Amber. I'm looking forward to reading The Ghost of Grover's Ridge.