Friday, 2 April 2010

Guest Post: Julia Knight - Why do I Write Fantasy (with dollops of romance)?

 I write mostly fantasy with big dollops of romance. Why? Good question.

The fantasy part is easy I suppose. I’ve always loved reading it, loved the different worlds and cultures that authors present me, the sense of myth and Romance ( as in the old type of Romance, Arthur and his Knights etc). The fact that anything could happen.

Why do I write it? Firstly, the real reason for fantasy – the fantastic. If I want a god to turn up, *poof* there he is. If I want someone to burst into flames spontaneously, he will burn. People seeing into the future, no problemo. Flying elephants? Got it, and here’s a handy umbrella just in case. Provided I keep my world’s internal logic sound and think through all the ramifications and limitations of my fantastical elements, I can do pretty much anything. And those ramifications can make a really great plot or add to the conflict. It’s very liberating, and at the same time confining and I love the conundrum of it.

Then there are the cultures. I’m not limited to this world; I can play about with events and reactions and weird localised foibles without worrying if it really happened. The question of why do they do it this way here? In that country, all marriages are arranged between people of equal class but they have affairs of the heart and no one turns a hair. So far so normal. But in this culture over here, events in their past – a nasty war which almost wiped them out – mean there are no constraints on who marries who, because they needed to get their numbers back up quickly. However monogamy is rigidly enforced. What happens when these two cultures – or two people from these cultures – come together? Fireworks! Another culture might have a mortal fear of pigs because of the Incident We Don’t Like to Talk About. It’s like the back-story for the characters, only on a much larger scale. This happened in the past, so things are done this way now. Bingo! A culture is born. 99% never makes it into the book, mostly just the end results. It’s endlessly fascinating to figure how human nature would adapt to whatever I feel like putting in this culture’s past and see how it works out in the now. And, of course, how that screws things up for my poor beleaguered characters.

As for the romance, well, what can I say? I’m a soft and gooey girl at heart. Now straight romance doesn’t really interest me, there has to be more to a book than that for me to enjoy it. But a big old soppy subplot? One that supports and is supported by the main plot?  That only makes it all harder for the characters? I am your girl. Besides, I do such nasty things to my characters; it’s nice to see them have some fun sometimes. Until the next time I decide they need to spontaneously combust, at least.

Thanks for the oppurtunity!



Check out Julia's Website -


  1. Woop! Great post, Julia! :D

    I heartily recommend Ilfayne's Bane to anyone who likes fantasy. It's an awesome read.


  2. Yup, it's on my buy list as my birthday present. I love the blurb, and all I have heard about it.

  3. Great post Julia! I totally agree about being able to do whatever you want. I love that part ;o) LOL on Flying Elephants! Your book sounds like a good read ;o)

  4. OH LOL - I forgot to thank you Dolly! Thanks for this, and I can't wait to read more ;o)

  5. Fantasy is liberating. I love reading it.

    I look forward to the other guest posts, Dolly.

  6. Erica / Medeia,

    Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it :-)

    Medeia - what a pretty name! I love it.

  7. HI Dolly - sorry I couldn't come by earlier - I was at my first writers' convention!

    Glad people enjoyed it. And the elephants? I was ( and probably always will be) inspired by Terry Pratchett

  8. Julia,

    No problem :-) Everyone's enjoyed your post, and thanks for doing it.

  9. Excellent post Julia. That is so wonderful to get an insight into why you write Fantasy. (with dollops of romance) :)