Why I Write Historical Fantasy

A few weeks ago I had an epiphany about why I write historical fantasy.

Historical fantasy is a messy business. Those who lean more toward the historical aspect tend to complain if the story suddenly leans closer to the fantasy aspect, and vice versa.

I don’t watch much TV, Netflix, etc. What I do watch is always in danger of developing into an obsession, to the point that, I become a fanatic (which used to be reserved ONLY for my NFL team, the Oakland Raiders). Somewhere along the line I become “overly involved”.  I think it’s because I started writing historical fantasy in 2005 without realizing the genre I was headed for.

The first sign of my mania manifested itself in 2010 with my discovery of the TV series Supernatural, which was already in its fifth season. Yes, Sam and Dean Winchester are hot brothers, but more importantly, I like the characters.

I stopped watching The Walking Dead in season 3 because I couldn’t stand some of the characters. Several years later, I learned of Negan’s first appearance in the season six finale.  The actor who portrays Negan is Jeffery Dean Morgan. He portrayed John Winchester, the Winchester boys’ father in the first season of Supernatural (2005). Now, suddenly, the world knew who Jeffery Dean Morgan was, while the cultist fans of Supernatural remembered him as the ruggedly handsome, John Winchester! I had people ask me if I watched The Walking Dead, and my thoughts on Jeffery Dean Morgan. My response: “You’re eleven years late.”

Supernatural is renewed for season 13, which will premier in October 2017.

So what does this have to do with my epiphany? This year I lost two of my favorite TV shows.

After 8 seasons, I lost The Vampire Diaries. The series finale aired March 10, 2017. I own every season of this YA type show on DVD, and I’ve watched those collective seasons more than once. I loved the characters, and the show brimmed with vampires, werewolves, witches, hybrids, and doppelgangers.  But there was one other important aspect about this show that I loved. It flashed back often to the mid-1800’s, which was when the Salvatore brothers became vampires. And there were numerous flash backs to the 10th century, when the original vampires were spawned.

Historical Fantasy? Yes!

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, after 4 years, I lost another adored TV series, the historical drama, TURN: Washington Spies. The series was based on the non-fiction book by Alexander Rose, “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring”. Of course, this is referring to the Culper spy ring that was formed in 1778. The producers of TURN (Alexander Rose was among them) and the actors excelled in authenticity, thus, the inaccuracies sometimes necessary to tell a smooth tale, were largely forgiven by the show’s  dedicated audience.

As an aside, the female portion of TURN’s audience found the actor who portrayed Major Ben Tallmadge, Seth Numrich, too hot to handle in his Continental Army uniform of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons.  turn-S4-cast-ben-numrich-700x1000

Historical Fantasy? Yes!

The final episode of the series induced a sobbing goodbye among the fans. The cast of the show immediately reached out to their grieving fans. It led us to participate in many Tweets and Facebook groups that discuss all things TURN and the Revolutionary War.

TURN’s finale was more than my heart could handle. I’ve spent the past year dedicated to understanding the philosophies (British and American) that led to the American Revolution, the people who played a part, and the military aspect of the first six months of the war, as I wrote the first book in my novel series Angels & Patriots, due to release Fall 2017.

I ordered the first three seasons of TURN: Washington Spies on DVD so I can watch it obsessively and stay in the mood of the time period while I’m writing Angels & Patriots book two.

One last thing about the conclusion of TURN; this beautiful observation was made by General George Washington:

 “Our country owes its life to the heroes whose names it will never know.”

3 thoughts on “Why I Write Historical Fantasy”

  1. Great post, Salina! You reminded me how much I love vampire origin stories, and some of the novels of Anne Rice. I need to reread them! And I love your strategy of staying in the period and the mood for your writing by immersing yourself in TURN. I do something similar when I write: Before beginning the day’s work, I read 15 to 20 minutes of a fantasy novel that I admire. Getting in the mood really works!

    Liked by 1 person

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