Message From The Author
I'm often asked why I chose to write fantasy when the majority of my books are romances. I can answer that in one word: Tolkien.
I can pinpoint the exact moment when my love affair with fantasy in general and Tolkien in particular began. I was in third grade, sitting in a semi-circle in front of our librarian, not really paying too much attention until she opened The Hobbit and started reading. I'm not sure I took a breath during the subsequent 50 minutes. I quickly moved on to The Lord of the Rings trilogy myself and knew I'd fallen in love. The only problem was, there just wasn't enough romance in it to suit me. I solved that problem for myself years later by diving head-first into the paranormal romance pool, but I still kept alive the dream of someday writing romantic stories where I could pull out all the fantasy stops.
When I was given the opportunity to contribute a novella to a fantasy anthology ("The Tale of the Two Swords" in To Weave a Web of Magic), I jumped at the chance, and the Nine Kingdoms were born. I've been happily dividing my writing year between fantasy and romance ever since.
For me, what makes a story containing any sort of paranormal or fantasy element ring true is how fully the story is grounded in reality -- well, except for that bit of it that . . . isn't. The scariest horror movies to me aren't the ones that are in-your-face gore from start to finish, they're the ones where everything looks normal and life moves along as expected . . . except for, wait, was that a hint of fang I just saw there?
You get the picture. The Nine Kingdoms is a medieval sort of world with kings and queens, farmers and soldiers, horses and—well, dragons and elves and mages, too. They’re very normal dragons and elves and mages, though, living out their lives in mostly unremarkable ways. If there is occasionally a bit of magic involved, or a flight or two on the back of a dragon, or shieldmaidens who wind up being queens, or mages who turn out to be elven princes, well, that’s just a little additional spice added to the stew.
My current fantasy, Spellweaver, is the second book of the second trilogy set in this world where I get to draw the map. Ruith is the youngest son of Gair, the black mage of Ceangail, something he's spent the past twenty years trying to forget. He succeeds, for the most part, until the local witchwoman's daughter, Sarah, comes banging on his door, interrupting his dinner and begging for help in stopping her brother from using what they soon learn is part of one of Gair's most powerful spells. Sarah has no magic and Ruith refuses to use his, not wanting to perhaps be tempted to follow in his father's footsteps, which makes trying to fight mages rather more difficult than it might be otherwise. They both come to the point where they either have to abandon their quest and leave the world to face a threat that may well destroy it, or they have to face their personal demons and take a stand.
For me, that last bit is what convinces me to keep writing what can be rather difficult stories to get out of my heart and down onto paper. My romances are light, romantic comedies that make me laugh and sometimes cry--and hopefully have the same effect on my wonderful readers. In the fantasies, though, I find myself as an author dealing with life and death, good and evil, and events that could truly undo those Nine Kingdoms if left to themselves. The subject matter is more serious, the stakes higher, and the elements I’m able to pull into the story basically unlimited.
And that, in the end, is why I write fantasy. I want to escape to a world where, either in spite of or because of the magical and mystical elements, the good mages win, the elven prince gets the ordinary girl, and the sun sets with every intention of rising on a more peaceful, tranquil world.
And if there's a healthy dose of romance involved . . . well, I say, so much the better!
- Lynn Kurland
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