Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Elaine Isaak

Welcome Elaine Isaak, fantasy author

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Elaine: Fantasy enables the writer to examine important issues of human interaction and morality from a slantwise direction that, I think, can cast light into some darker corners.  Often, if we tackle an issue from a contemporary, real-world perspective, it's easy to get angry or become mired in complexities that distract from the heart of the matter.  By removing the idea to a different realm, even if it's a similar place in which magic works or vampires walk the earth, we invite the reader to pretend that it's not real, so it doesn't matter--while we engage them in considering things they might otherwise avoid.  

Using the tropes of fantasy, we can create thought-experiments and moral dilemmas that illuminate our inner lives.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

Elaine: Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, Tim Powers' Anubis Gates, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, James Thurber's The Thirteen Clocks.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy? 

Elaine: Readers want a book to be so enthralling that they can step inside and close the door behind them, and not come out until they're done.  Fantasy takes that desire even further by transporting the reader to fantastic places where they can experience things you just don't find in the real world.  Many fantasy books are written in series, giving the reader and writer lots of room to play together and build great things.  Fantasy is an imaginative adventure, not for the faint of heart, where the reader can try on different lives

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it? 

Elaine: I did for years. . . What many people outside the genre don't understand is the pure delight of discovering new places and characters, then revealing them through words.  
Gustave Flaubert said "It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself, but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes."

I do think a story isn't quite complete until someone else has read it--that's when the magic really comes together.

Elaine Isaak dropped out of art school to found Curious Characters, designing original stuffed animals and small-scale sculptures, and to follow her bliss:  writing.  She is the author of The Singer's Crown (Eos, 2005), and sequels The Eunuch's Heir  (Eos, 2006), and The Bastard Queen (Swimming Kangaroo, 2010). 

Her new dark historical fantasy series will be starting in 2012 with DAW books under a pseudonym (shhh!) A mother of two, Elaine also enjoys rock climbing, taiko (Japanese drumming) weaving and exotic cooking—when she can scrape the time together.  Visit her website  to read sample chapters and find out why you do not want to be her hero.

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