Historical fiction vs. historical fantasy

If you’ve read any of my work, you already know that I am deeply fascinated not just with history, but with mythology. One of the first books I had as a child was Edith Hamilton’s Greek Mythology, a beaten-up paperback probably printed in the 1980s wtih a scandalously nude, orange-skinned Perseus brandishing a shield and Medusa’s severed head. Myths were fascinating to me because they seemed so fantastical and distant. Why on earth did a woman wander through a maze with a spool of thread to guide her way? Why did Kronos eat his children? Why did Hermes kill a turtle (poor turtle) and make a lyre? Why did Thor try to drink the entire ocean?

How on earth was Loki the mother and father of most of the nasty monsters wandering around Asgard?

When I was a younger kid, my mind did not distinguish very much between actual history and mythology. They both seemed impossibly far away to me, and while intensely interesting, there wasn’t a lot of connection to my everyday living world.

Writers will, of course, write what they know. Most of my early stories owe quite a lot to various Goosebumps books, or Stephen King, or Animorphs, or Jack London or Ernest Hemingway. Today, I unabashedly lean heavily on the bones of myths to give skeleton to the body of my books, much like many a storyteller has done millennia and millennia before me. Can you guess which myth is behind Black Brothers’ Tales? I bet you can’t.

This leads me to an inner debate I had about historical fiction versus historical fantasy. In Black Brothers Tales I lean very heavily on bits and pieces from history. Varedo is what I imagined my version of the Ummayad Caliphate may have been in a world where the Ummayads never left Spain, and the Prophet’s daughter inherited the Caliphate instead of his nephew. However, there my story’s similarity to history stops; most of it’s imagined, with pieces here and there inspired by history, my own experiences, and just straight up imagination. The language is a mixture of all the languages I imagined may have ended up in this imaginary caliphate if the Ummayads had never left, plus some Turkish because I like Turkish. Is this silly? Perhaps, but I don’t care. I am writing stories because I enjoy writing them. I will probably always write historical fantasy instead of historical fiction, because your margins of error with imagined people and places are so much wider. The real knowledge gap between me and the person I am writing about matters a lot less if the subject of my writing is a figment of my own mind.

The Skyforger will be on sale for just $0.99 from 9/25 – 10/2. Link: https://books2read.com/b/mYpeQd

The release party and live reading of The Golden Lion will take place on 11/5. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/238765517370548/

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