My favourite genre is when two genres are mashed up to make one. I love a good multi-genre book. I love lots of books, to be very fair, but I love it when I get two genres that I love in one big mash-up.
For reasons that may become obvious, my favourite author was Sara Douglass (real name Sara Warneke). Before her passing, Sara Douglass was an epic fantasy writer who dabbled in such original material that it made my head spin. She made me rage and cry alongside characters as no author has ever managed to before or since. I started reading Sara Douglass as a teenager and unfortunately never participated in her community much before her passing. Sara inspired me to become a writer and to always strive to take my own darkness and apply it to the worlds that I create. She inspired me to breathe life into the less obvious and to challenge perspectives.
She was also far more masterful than I am when it comes to world-building. Sara was a PHD in early modern English History and the books that she wrote were steeped deep in that culture. In the way that my knowledge of the equestrian world would, in some ways, make sense for me to write horse based culture, her expertise fleshed out her books in incredible ways.
That being said, it took me until 2016 to pick up the book series The Crucible (The Nameless Day, The Wounded Hawk, The Crippled Angel). In many ways, I am glad I waited to read this book series. It was, for me, the perfect mashing of fantasy and history together. It follows an alternative timeline during the crisis of the Late Middle Ages where angels have enlisted a friar to defeat the dreaded demons, but nothing is as it seems.
The books held me captive. I stayed up late for consecutive nights devouring them. Then they made me go to the internet and the library to look for more about that time period. I found myself hating the main character, then falling in love with his struggle and arrogance that culminates within an epic climax. I found myself wishing I dared to write something with as much depth. But it was enough for me to just have read these books. They were, for me, everything I wished for.
You see, sometimes I love a good history book. But very rarely am I fan of historical fiction. I love solid historical non fiction. Non fiction was how I got my kicks in high school (yes, I was the lonely kid in the library sometimes). So finding that magical cross over has helped me learn more about historical fiction and how to craft it. I still reread the Crucible series every year as part of my re-read pile. My mother loves historical romance and I have found a few I enjoyed. I also like historical horror novels.
I’m still wondering if there are rules about crossing the streams, so to speak. Do you have to follow one mindset and not the other? Do you include some details and ignore others? Is there any time you don’t dare cross a line?
Help me, someone, because I have a wicked fun idea for historical fantasy soon
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