Friday, January 13, 2012

Why I Write Fantasy - Rahima Warren

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Rahima: First, I have to say that I didn’t plan to write a fantasy trilogy. The hero, Kyr, took over my life and turned me into a fantasy writer, so he could go on his arduous but healing journey. (See my essay on how this happened on my website, Second, I blame my parents. They left fantasy and sci-fi magazines, such as Galaxy, If, and FandSF, etc., lying around the house. The cover art was fascinating to me as a child and I started reading the stories as soon as I could read. I remember the first story I read, “Lorelei of the Red Mist,” which I thought was wonderful as a third grader. (Later I reread it, and wasn’t so impressed.) Anyway, my parents got me hooked. So, the third reason I write fantasy is because that’s what I have been reading since I could read. You might say my brain is steeped in it. It’s the natural language of my unconscious mind.
More importantly, I love deep fantasy novels that explore the truths of the soul, and magical possibilities beyond the screen of ordinary life. In Western rationalism and scientific thinking, truth is found in provable facts. For the human soul, that is a dry fountain.
What does your soul long for? Something juicy, freeing, or inspiring?  Something that leads you deeper into the mystery of life? That helps you discover more of your own unique truth? That opens your heart and thrills you with wondrous possibilities? The best fantasy novels offer all this, wrapped up in a fascinating story with strong characters and lyrical writing. That’s what I long for, so, of course, when I found myself writing Kyr’s story, I couldn’t help but write it as a fantasy.
Amber: What fantasy subgenre do you prefer?
Rahima: My trilogy—The Star-Seer’s Prophecy— is hard to classify. On the one hand, it starts out very dark, so one might think it is dark fantasy. As Kyr’s journey begins, he knows nothing but evil and pain, both as victim and perpetrator. But his story is about his struggle toward healing, and to learn to forgive others, and even himself. I see my story as visionary fiction, in that it offers a vision of a way beyond inner and outer hatred, revenge and punishment toward love, forgiveness and healing, cleverly disguised as a gripping story of mysteries, challenges and forbidden love.
Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Rahima: Phew! That’s a hard one. I have an extensive collection of favorites that I keep to reread. Well, I have to start with Ursula K. LeGuin’s novels – almost all of them, especially The Wizard of Earthsea series. Then there’s  Lord of the Rings, of course. All of Patricia McKillip’s stories. Her writing is magic in itself! Carol Berg’s duology: Flesh and Spirit, and Breath and Bone, and her trilogy Transformation, Revelation and Restoration. Most of Charles De Lint’s work, especially The Onion Girl, and Trader. Then there’s C. J. Cherryh’s Fortress series. I could go on and on!
Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Rahima: Oddly, not everyone does. Isn’t that strange? Anyway, I’m sure it’s because people love to escape from our rather harsh reality, enter worlds of imagination that speak to the magical, non-linear side of our souls, and go on adventures beyond the confines of so-called reality. In the best fantasies, reader are touched by the struggles and evolution of the characters, learn something about themselves, and may even be inspired to expand their own vision of who they can become.

Rahima Warren
I’m a third-generation native of California and reside there with my husband, where I periodically chase squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from my roses. For 20 years, I was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist, but retired in 2006 to focus on my expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies. Dark Innocence is my first novel. I’m currently editing Book Two of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy trilogy, Difficult Blessings. The third book, Dangerous Bliss, awaits revision.

Dark Innocence ~  
Book One of The Star-Seer’s Prophecy 
published by Rose Press
now available on:
Also available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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