I can tell you how it started, my love affair with fantasy. My Mum brought me a book back from a jumble sale. It cost 10p. Stories of King Arthur. I loved that book. I still do, and I still have it. It had so many great stories in it: The White Dragon and the Red, The Fairy Hunt, The Pig-Sty Prince. It had colour plates (remember them?) and noble knights and epic loves and….and I was hooked. Romance with a capital R.
Fast forward a few years, and I picked up a book by CJ Cherryh. The Chronicles of Morgaine. How I loved that book. And Vanye, I’m still a bit in love with Vanye. In my head, I began making stories like that, and because of my love of epic romance and fantasy, when it came to writing, it couldn’t be anything else. I wanted to write books that made other people feel as I had. I wanted people to fall for my characters as hard as I fell for Vanye. And it had to be on a far world where everything was strange.
The more I wrote fantasy, though, the more I appreciated what it did for me. If I set my stories in this world, I was constrained by what is actually real here, and history. If I wrote a story about medieval knights set in Britain, well there’d be certain restrictions. My ladies would, to be blunt, have not a lot of things to do. Apart from sewing a bit, or feeding the pigs. But in fantasy—in fantasy I could do anything. So if I wanted a pirate culture where the women were at least as respected—and deadly—as the men, then Bam! I could have it. If I wanted knights and nobleness, and also my lady to have a choice of what to do other than be a virgin and then a wife, Bam! I could have that too.
Of course, it’s not total freedom; things still have to make sense and have an internal logic. In the words of the wise Sir Terry Pratchett, “If you create a world where pigs can fly, you need to allow for the fact that everyone would have to carry umbrellas all the time.” And that is where I found my most favouritist part of fantasy. Making sure it all works. Well, it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble…mostly!
Julia Knight was born and lives in Sussex, UK. Hence the funny spelling. She spends way too much time in her own head, but when she isn’t dreaming of noble knights and rascally thieves, she tries to spend time with her husband and two children. Her latest release, Ten Ruby Trick, is a fantasy pirate caper with added dollops of romance.