My Journey as a Fantasy Writer by Rachael Ikins
“I began writing fantasy in 1995 with a very simple goal in mind. I had a young friend who was going through teen angst. We’d been friends since she was a child of 3. We had travelled many magical places in our minds and play, and shared a love of possibility. So, when she was hurting, I started to write stories for her based on stuffed animals who’d come to life. Sometimes she starred in the story, even to the point of posing in costume for some illustrative photos.
Life moved us both on and apart. Two moves later, I faced life without my husband and the loss of almost everything we’d had. After prying open a stuck file cabinet drawer, I found the stories which would become the beginnings of my first book, The Complete Tales from the Edge of the Woods.
Since I’d been in a lot of pain myself all those years ago, and with so much upheaval between then and now, I did not remember writing the stories. I was astonished to see them again as my fingers smoothed the wrinkled pages. Two writers conferences for YA fiction later, and after becoming pen pals with an established author in the genre who later wrote a review of The Complete Tales from the Edge of the Woods and encouraged me to allow the book to be nominated for an award – I was ready. A la’ Peter Straub, I listened for the voices of characters to speak to me, read some passages aloud to my first adult writers’ group, and soon a book was born.
What I have found profound and most powerful about the process of writing a fantasy novel, is the power to touch readers’ hearts. Simply put, the stories I wrote have moved others so deeply. The Complete Tales grew from the simple desire to comfort a friend to the desire to become a “real writer” and to solve my personal life dilemmas. Long ago, I had sought refuge in those forests when my own life was bleak beyond description. And so, I wrote of ensorcelled characters able to face their tormentors, to free themselves at last.
I had no idea how fantastic it would be to complete a book. Until now. Until I did it. Those tales came back into my life the year I decided for no particular reason to pry open a stuck drawer, to uncrumple the wad of pages far in the back of it. It was almost as if they were hidden there awaiting me… like a real magical spell when the time was right.
The Complete Tales from the Edge of the Woods seems to resonate with readers ages 8 to 83. I have faith in the magic of these tales. Book 2 has been written. Book 3 will follow. And I will allow the story to lead me out into the world, to take me where it may go.
Standing room only at last night’s book launch party and a sell-out of all copies only proves my point. There is magic out there. Reach for it and it will find you.”
To learn more about Rachael, visit: http://www.rachaelikins.com or http://about.me/Rachaelz Read her blogs: http://rachaelzikins.blogspot.com and http://writerraebeth.wordpress.com Find her books at: http://rachaelikins.com/publications.htm and her artwork at: http://rachaelikins.com/artwork.htm You can also find her on FaceBook: Rachael Ikins and Twitter: @justaskrache
Thanks again to Rachael Ikins for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a ensorcelled day! – Vonnie