When I talk about my fiction writing, people often end up asking what my genre is; fantasy or science-fiction? The answer is equally simple and confusing, it’s both and it’s neither. When I start the development of a new book, I strive to match ancient knowledge with modern, or futuristic wisdom and place it in the present. I feel this gives the story an anchor in the now, hopefully giving it imagery that the reader can see and feel. From another angle, pulling ancient knowledge and placing it in the present allows me to integrate magical or otherworldly elements that have a basis in popular culture. This is perfect for me to create memorable moments that become story catalysts. But delving into pure fantasy isn’t attractive for me. Nor is diving into an exclusively sci-fi universe. By staying in the here and now, that forces me to take the data I’ve accumulated in my research and make it fit in a present-day setting.
The exercise isn’t all fun and games, though. Sometimes I must bend the data I accumulated for the story to remain relevant without clouding the reader’s mind with too much unnecessary information. That’s why before I get going with the actual writing of the book, I try to make sure I’m comfortable with the elements I’ve integrated from my research. If you have ever read one of my books, you’ll find I’m a perfect description of the words “based upon”, with a focus on “based”. The facts I integrate into a story are always true but sometimes twisted in a way that the book’s rhythm won’t be broken. It’s never simple to choose which elements of the research I keep intact and which are twisted to fit the storyline or a character’s back story. The way I do this is by merging the storyline and the facts, usually by way of short stories. I start with really short ones implicating one character and his or her relationship to the world around them. Then I expand to longer stories to have the characters interact more with each other. The result is that I find myself with a cornucopia of story pieces, and that’s when I start to write the book.
This part is excruciatingly tedious and demands all my attention (but I love every second of it), as I take the short stories I’ve written and try to see where, and if, they fit in the timeline I designed. Each time, I strive for a story based in the present time with a perfume of ancient knowledge and a dollop of scientific fact. In no way do I pretend that by reading my books, you will understand something historical or gain clarity on a scientific theory. But I do hope once someone has finished one of my books, they will feel an urge to learn more about the subjects I touched on. I hope this clarifies what my genre is for those who may have wondered.
Take care, dear readers, see you next week!