Today’s guest post is brought to you by the amazing Rae Stoltenkamp.
If I had to pick a favourite genre from a list it would be Fantasy. If truth be told I didn’t choose it. It chose me. More than likely spurred on by my mother’s machinations. When I was about 10/11 she won a copy of The Lord of The Rings. That’s when it all started. She put the trilogy in my hands and the minute I thumbed through the pages I was doomed forever. I fell in love the way only a teenager can. With Strider and Lothlorian. Way before I ever saw the character brought to life by Viggo Mortensen or the superb special effects of the location in Peter Jackson’s film. I love this book so much that I used to reread it annually until only a few years ago. Now my writing and reading schedule keeps me so busy I can only afford to look at it sitting on my bedside table instead.
Ever since, Fantasy has always been my go to genre, especially when I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps. While I was at university I didn’t have much money but what I did have was a monthly book allowance deposited into my account by my parents. This I would use to top up on non-course related books. They regularly included Asterix & Obelix, a new Toni Morrison or Pratchett and any other newly released book from a fantasy author.
Way back when, a university boyfriend introduced me to Tad Williams and I still love and reread The Dragon Bone Chair series periodically. Other favourite authors are: Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula le Guin and Octavia Butler. Recently I’ve been introduced to Ben Aaronovitch and am liking his offerings a great deal.
The reason Fantasy will always be top in my reading matter is because it makes me believe the world can be a better place. The crazier the world gets (and let’s face it, it’s pretty crazy right now) the more I dip into the well. This I expect is why I ended up writing in the genre too. I started young. Age 13/14. My first fantasy novel was called Panthra. He was a man who could instantly transform into a panther. Sound familiar? I reckon the creators of Manimal stole my idea. But I’m willing to forgive them because let’s face it, Simon Mac Corkindale was totally hot. I wrote it in an old exercise book, designed maps of the various locations (even though my geography knowledge was highly suspect – still is) and drew pictures of the characters on recycled sheets of my parent’s A4 stationery.
As I grew older my writing grew darker, developed a more dystopian feel and began to take on elements of Magic Realism. I confess I abandoned the writing of Fantasy in favour of SciFi further along my writing road. I don’t blame you for shuddering at my disloyalty. Thankfully several friends brought me to my senses and suggested I write a fantasy novel for children. I resisted. They insisted. The Lonely Dragon was born.
Earlier this year I ran a Facebook poll on which book I should focus on for my next WIP. Fantasy won out over SciFi. The Witch Adoption Project is now in the making. It’s the sequel to The Lonely Dragon and alongside it I’m doing a little stand-alone yet related fictional autobiography entitled Memoirs of a Feline Familiar. More ideas are sprouting even as this goes live.
Fantasy it seems will simply not let me be. And in truth, I don’t ever want it to.
Rae Stoltenkamp was born in South Africa and came to England in 1987 to visit family. She liked the weather so much she stayed. After a writing holiday in Greece she had an epiphany and realised she should be writing on a full time basis. It was probably heat stroke since she hadn’t had sun in a while. She then studied writing at City Lit with the poet Caroline Natzler and is now a self-published writer, blogger and English tutor living in South London. Rae currently works for a local charity (Young Women’s Hub) teaching English andalso runs creative writing workshops and after school clubs for primary age children with www.inkhead.co.uk. Her published work includes poetry in Prole, Fantasy for children, Science Fiction for young adults and Magic Realism for adults. As well as her writing, Rae has a passion for Lindy Hop and Argentine Tango. When she’s not chained to her desk and laptop, you can often see her tripping the light fantastic with her dancing friends.