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Posts Tagged ‘Ice Forged’

Thanks to speculative author Gail Z. Martin for stopping by and sharing her thoughts on epic fantasy. Enjoy!

Suspense, Horror and Romance in Epic Fantasy by Gail Z. Martin

0061-eWomenNetwork One of the things I love about writing epic fantasy is that within the genre, there is room for elements of other genres. Like the old spaghetti sauce ad, “it’s in there.” Part of it is the scope of epic fantasy, with its large scale, sweeping storylines and large cast of characters. That creates a lot of opportunity for drawing on a variety of elements, because you’re working on a bigger canvas (and a larger page count) than many other genres permit.

I know that suspense has its own genre, but certainly any dramatic fiction requires more than a dollop of suspense to keep the reader turning pages. If you want your readers to stick with you over the course of hundreds of pages, there has to be a strong “what’s going to happen next” sense, with tension at the end of every scene and every chapter. I love when readers tell me that I kept them up late or made them run over their lunch hour because they couldn’t put the book down!

Maybe other genres can get by without a touch of horror, but it fits well inside epic fantasy. We often write about brutal times and brutal people–warlords, kings, soldiers, mages and monsters. There’s going to be bloodshed, and often, to illustrate just how bad it is or just how black someone’s heart is, the writing veers into the horrific to make a point. Unlike a horror novel, an epic fantasy doesn’t stay mired in the horrific, nor does the protagonist remain helpless for long. But we definitely touch on it, and can often use it to good purpose.

Epic romance also often lends itself to elements of romance. Dynasties are at stake, and the men and women who produce the next set of rulers are going to have their loves and dalliances, their betrayals and unrequited affections. It can up the stakes for a hero’s survival if someone is waiting for his or her return. When people are thrown together under stressful situations for periods of time, romantic relationships are going to happen. I find that a bit of romance can be a respite from all the battle action and grit, and after having that respite, the hardship seems even more difficult.

The next time you’re stewing up your next epic fantasy, add some spice with horror, suspense and romance. It makes for a mighty tasty story!

Gail Z Martin Ice Forged Come check out all the free excerpts, book giveaways and other goodies that are part of my Days of the Dead blog tour! Trick-or-Treat you way through more than 30 partner sites where you’ll find brand new interviews, freebies and more–details at www.AscendantKingdoms.com .

Ice Forged will be a Kindle Daily Deal with a special one-day price of just $1.99 only on October 31! Get it here: http://amzn.com/B008AS86QY

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books. My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. In 2014, Gail launches a new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, from Solaris Books. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures. Find her at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com , on Twitter @GailZMartin, on http://Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms , at http://DisquietingVisions.com blog and http://GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com

Thanks again to Gail Z. Martin for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests (including tomorrow’s post from author Trisha Wooldridge), blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastical day! – Vonnie

 

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Thanks to author Gail Z. Martin for stopping by and sharing her views on the Young Adult market. Enjoy!

0061-eWomenNetwork The View from Outside the YA Fence by Gail Z. Martin

At book signings, I frequently am asked, “What age reader is your book right for?”

That’s a hard one. It depends on the reader. So I ask, “What age is the reader you have in mind?”

Sometimes, the person is concerned that my books might be too adult for a teen or tween. Sometimes, they’re concerned that my books might be too juvenile for an adult.

How do I answer? It depends.

I wrote my Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle series for adults, as I did with my new book, Ice Forged. But frankly, although my mother lived to be 89 years old, I would never have suggested that she read them. They’d have given her nightmares, and she would have feared for the welfare of my soul. They were too dark for her.

On the other hand, I’ve got three teenage children. Each of them was ready for different stuff at different ages. My oldest daughter had a teacher who decreed, in eighth grade, that she could only read college-level books for class credit. While that might have been great to challenge her vocabulary, the teacher seemed to have forgotten that many of those college-level books dealt with themes and world views that were over the head of even a very precocious 13 year-old. We spent that year having a number of “teachable moments”, and still found that there is no way to fully impart understanding to someone who just hasn’t lived long enough to understand certain perspectives. (That teacher remains on my “naughty” list for sheer cluelessness.)

My middle daughter listened in on all those teachable moments, and picked different books that led to different long car discussions. My son wasn’t interested in reading anything too edgy, although we’ve had those “teachable moment” discussions on video games.

As I head back into stores with Ice Forged, a novel where the adventure begins when the world ends, I’m sure I’ll get more people asking, “Who did you write this for?”

So here’s my personal set of questions that I ask of parents when deciding whether or not my books are right for their teen or tween:

–Has he/she read fantasy books with some detailed battles, scary elements and character deaths? (Like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter?)

–Do they like supernatural elements?

–Are they comfortable with more mature themes like death and betrayal?

–Are they OK with some cursing? (Swear words and vulgarities appropriate to the language style of particular characters.)

Gail Z Martin Ice Forged As I said in the beginning, I wrote my books for adults, and that’s the target market. At the same time, I’ve picked up readers age 13 and up who had the maturity and the reading experience to enjoy the books. I get letters from readers of all ages who loved the books and the characters. Did my youngest readers pick up on everything I put in the books? Maybe not (but then again, there were probably some adult readers who missed things, too). What matters is that they had a good roller coaster ride of an experience and hopefully left still hungry for more of the genre.

Likewise, well-written YA books rightfully attract large adult readers because they have depth and yet retain their sense of wonder. I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson books and other books that I read right along with my kids and loved. And I’ve also questioned and challenged the unrelenting darkness of some YA (and adult) books, because I don’t believe that being “real” is the same as being depressed, cynical and bitter.

So that’s my two-cents. Personally, I think that categories like “YA” are arbitrary designations used mostly to help booksellers and libraries determine where to shelve books. I know that when I was a teen, long before the “YA” designation, I was chomping through some books that would have turned my mom’s hair white had she but known. At the same time, there were a few books I picked up and put back down again because I found them to be too much. (I’ll admit that it was probably a mistake to read Deliverance when I was 10.)

Ultimately, we find those boundaries for ourselves. We delight in sneaking a peek at the “forbidden” books that mom thinks are too much for us (but that we’re actually ready for), and hate some of the books our teachers think are developmental but are just plain despondent. But that’s part of the joy of reading, as we discover uncharted territory and find what speaks to us.

So don’t get too tangled up with categories. Read the books that speak to you, regardless of genre. Don’t worry what other people think about what someone “your age” should be reading. Read what you love, and don’t let people pressure you into reading books that detract from your love of reading. At the same time, stretch yourself occasionally to read something uncomfortable, even upsetting, if the story is worthwhile. A good book can change your life.

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013. Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books). For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit http://www.AscendantKingdoms.com  Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin  and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://a.pgtb.me/JvGzTt

Thanks again to Gail Z. Martin. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and another new feature coming in February. Have a magical day! – Vonnie

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