Thursday, July 16, 2015

Guest Feature - Dyane Forde, fantasy author

My guest on this unseasonally hot - in the middle of winter? - Thursday, is my friend Dyane Forde. A lovely lady and talented author. She speaks about her writing and motivation for writing novels in the fantasy genre. This is very interesting to me, to find out why authors write what they do. It gives one insight into a deeper part of them. But, I'll let Dyane introduce herself.

I’m not quite sure how I fell into writing fantasy novels, but I intend to puzzle it out. See, most of my writing life, I wrote short stories about various themes and genres, from literary fiction, Christian, science fiction, flash fiction, poetry amongst others, and most often touching on personal and social issues. But when it comes to the long form, I seem to slip easily—naturally--into the fantasy genre.

I don’t write sword and sorcery, and I don’t often read that sub-genre despite The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion being amongst my favorite books (the latter IS my favorite book of all time). My fantasy seems to be more the ‘normal people living in a fantastic world who end up doing fantastic things’ sort of stories. Maybe because ‘normal’ heroes with human concerns and faults are the kind I can relate to and figure most people can, as well.

Sometimes I think I gravitate to fantasy because I get bored easily, and the fact that the genre requires world-building in a way that makes a made-up world feel real presents a challenge that engages me.

Or maybe it’s my job’s fault. As a social worker by day, I spend a lot of time dealing with harsh reality. Perhaps writing about people’s problems under the guise of fantasy is just a means of escaping real chaos for the fabricated while taking as many people with me as I can. Once, a literary fiction writer friend asked what I wrote and what I did for a living. When I told her she gave me a knowing look and said, “Oh, I get it.”

Fantasy is in my writing blood, a part of my creative DNA. Very often I’ll start to write something rooted in reality and somewhere along the way things will veer sideways and something fantastic creeps in. Elements of science fiction (soft sci-fi since I’m not smart enough to handle the hard stuff) in The Keeper and the Kept, ghost children swarming out of the corn fields in Sunshine and Lemonade, talking eagles in The Eagle’s Gift, and a black, red-haired outcast teen on a path to self-discovery in a dragon-themed novella called The Dragon’s Egg, are examples.

Still, there’s something deeper that drives me to write. It’s the promise of being able to share something of myself with a respective reader. Like many authors, the stories I write reflect who I am, the tone and style I choose indicative of a mood or emotional state. A lot of the time, there’s an idea or a question I’m throwing out there, wondering if anyone will pick it up and relate. There’s no better feeling when, after posting a story or excerpt, someone messages me that they ‘got’ the story, or shares how something touched them or related to their lives. For me, it’s communication on a subconscious level, the same way my desire to escape reality mysteriously coalesces into a fantasy story.

The idea for The Purple Morrow started a few years back when I wanted to explore themes related to loss, redemption, and moving forward. The story of Jeru, a simple clan hunter unable to deal with the past, being thrown into a crisis demanding that he settle things in order to move on and even surpass that past, seemed a good place to start. The thought of doing it in an everyday or modern context bored me to tears. The chance to build a world in which to challenge the characters appealed to me, and so the book took form. Since then, the sequels, Wolf’s Bane, and Berserker (WIP) have only grown in scope.
With each book, the world of Marathana blossomed. Multiculturalism, faith, magic and spirituality are also firmly rooted in this world and play essential roles in determining which side--good or evil--will prevail. Questions of identity, and individual choice versus the greater good are explored. All this within the confines of a neat little world sprung from the imagination and heart. J

If you’d like to check out more about me and my writing, please look me up at the links below:

Twitter: @PurpleMorrow