Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Mik Wilkens

Welcome Mik Wilkens, speculative fiction writer and author of The Silver Cage
Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

I write both fantasy and science fiction (mostly space opera), as well as other types of speculative fiction, but fantasy is my favorite because of the freedom it gives me to create worlds and characters without limitation. Fantasy is wide open because of all of the different subgenres within it: high fantasy, urban fantasy, fairy tale fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, etc. You can put almost anything into a fantasy story: cars, faeries, guns, dragons, werewolves, vampires, even starships. There's really very little you can't do.

Amber: Which subgenre best describes your new novel, The Silver Cage?
Mik: It's mostly a blend of fairy tale fantasy and high fantasy. When I say “fairy tale,” I don’t mean the traditional, short folk tale written for children, often with a moral at the ending. Rather, I use the term as defined by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien in his essay “On Fairy-Stories.” Tolkien said that fairy tales are not stories about fairies or other fantastic creatures; rather they are about the interaction between humans and such beings. He believed that through the use of such tales, an author can help the reader experience a world that is consistent and rational yet completely strange.

David Conner, a sensible, modern-day businessman, is the human who interacts with the fantastic creatures in The Silver Cage. He acts as a guide for the reader as he explores the magical world he finds himself in, investigates how and why he ended up there, and uncovers the layers of intrigue that surround the lives of the world’s creatures.

Amber: Who is the ideal reader for The Silver Cage, children or adults?
Mik: The Silver Cage is aimed at adults, but it doesn't have any mature themes or content that would keep it from being enjoyed by older children. Several people who don't normally like reading fantasy stories have really liked the story, so you don't necessarily have to be a fan of fantasy fiction to enjoy it.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Mik: The first fantasy novels to really make an impression on me were those in Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series.
They inspired me to try writing books of my own. They also taught me the importance of having a logical magic system in a fantasy story. Rather than just having some intangible force called “magic,” there needs to be a source of the power and rules that the characters have to follow to use that power. That idea was one of the driving forces behind The Silver Cage.

I really love Anne Rice’s vampire books, as well. I read Interview with the Vampire in 1976 when it first came out, long before the rest of her vampire books were written and before vampires became such a popular subject. I absolutely adored that book, and I read each of the other books in The Vampire Chronicles series as they came out. Since then, I’ve read them all way more times than I can remember.

I also like Mercedes Lackey's books, Roger Zelazny's Amber series, and The Death Gate Cycle books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
It's a wonderful way to escape the troubles of the real world, meet fascinating characters, and explore imaginative worlds.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Definitely. The truth is, I don't have much of a choice. When I'm in a writing mood, I can't not write. If my muse sends me a fantasy story, like it or not, that's what I'm going to write.

Mik Wilkens' debut fantasy novel, The Silver Cage, is available at and other leading e-book distributors. Her science fiction novella The Price of Conquest will be released in 2011 by WolfSinger Publications. She's currently working on several other writing projects, including a fantasy novel starring greyhounds, which she plans to use to raise money to help retired racing greyhounds find homes. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, a pack of retired racing greyhounds, and an ancient, three-legged demon in a cat suit.

The Silver Cage LazyDay Publishing The Price of Conquest, SF novella, 
 due 2011WolfSinger Publications Find out more about Mik Wilkens 
and writing blog Writing Blog Mikreations


  1. I love writing and reading fantasy for all the reasons you name. Great interview.

  2. Love the JR Tolkein definition. Great post and congrats on your release!
    Liz Arnold
    Message to Love
    The Wild Rose Press