As part of the Blogger Book Fair, I’m pleased to present this guest post by Cindy Young-Turner, author of the Thief of Hope Series. She takes a look at the important role played by genre fiction. Enjoy!
The Importance Of Genre Fiction
When I was young, I remember having a big, yellow cloth-covered book of fairy tales and other stories from around the world. Most of the stories are hazy now. One was about two boys in the desert whose families or cultures disliked each other and when one boy is bitten by a snake, the other saves his life. I wish I could remember more about that story, since the main idea remains so vivid in my mind. At the end of the book was a section from Le Morte d’Arthur. This was probably one of my first introductions to the King Arthur legends. I was riveted, especially by the illustration of Arthur and Mordred during their final battle, where Arthur’s lance is sticking all the way through Mordred’s chest. Reading these tales began my love of knights and all things medieval, and of course, magic. You can’t have the King Arthur story without the magic of Merlin and Morgan le Fey. When I was in grade school one of the books the teachers read to us was The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. I was hooked again, and I went on to read the whole series, along with The Chronicles of Narnia. Then I stopped reading fantasy for a while, although I was always a voracious reader. As I got older I tried other fantasy books and was overwhelmed by the bizarre names and places. For whatever reason, they no longer made sense. I was even bored by The Hobbit.
Don’t worry, I’ve redeemed myself since then. I got back into fantasy in college, thanks to some friends who were big fans of the genre. These friends also introduced me to a little role playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, this is how I spent my Saturday nights in college, sitting around a table with a group of other geeks friends, slaying orcs and fighting dragons and having a grand time. I also started reading fantasy again. Sadly, among all the good fantasy books, there are also a lot of really bad ones, and it wasn’t long before I got burned out on the genre again. Being a writer, I decided I’d write the kind of fantasy novel I wanted to read.
Later, another friend introduced me to H.P. Lovecraft, Mervyn Peake, and Ray Bradbury. I loved the archaic, flowery language and the elements of horror and the fantastic. I lived in Massachusetts then and we made a few pilgrimages to an amazing used bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island (fitting because Providence was the home of Lovecraft). I’d always return with stacks of books. I finally read Tolkien and this time fell in love with Middle Earth and the incredible world he created.
When people find out I’m an author the first thing they ask is what do I write, probably expecting a description of the next Great American Novel or something modern and literary. I find myself sheepishly answering “fantasy,” as if it’s not legitimate enough. And then I add, “you know, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings,” only I have to clarify that actually my book is not like those at all, but at least it gives them a familiar reference point. Although genre fiction, and fantasy in particular, has become more legitimate with the success of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and Game of Thrones, it still feels like there is a stigma about it, like it’s just not good enough.
Of course that isn’t true. Genre fiction, whether it’s fantasy, SF, or horror, can be just as meaningful and worthwhile as any literary work. Horror allows us to examine our darkest fears and deepest desires. Fantasy and SF allow us to explore the human condition in outer space or in imagined worlds like Middle Earth. I love to read about a world in peril and the orphan boy or girl whose destiny may change the shape of things to come. I love the magic and things that lurk in the dark. I love the sense of hope and triumph against all odds. This is the power of the genre. It helps us understand who we are and what we may become and provides a great adventure along the way.
About Cindy Young-Turner
Cindy Young-Turner has always been an avid reader and became fascinated by mythology and Arthurian legends at an early age. She quickly decided she enjoyed creating her own worlds and characters and set to work writing her own stories. She believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether our characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms.
Thief of Hope
Sydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she’s sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.
After she’s rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic—long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor—still exists, and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.
But Sydney’s fear of the Guild, distrust of authority, and surprising connection to the Tuatha threaten Willem’s success. Can she untangle the strange threads that entwine her life not only to the fate of the kingdom, but also to Willem himself?
Journey to Hope
A brief tale in the Thief of Hope Series
As the third son of a lesser nobleman, Edgar Gray’s prospects are limited at best. He longs to find some meaning in a life of privilege. A chance encounter with Rose, a peasant girl, gives him a chance to help those in need. But the Guild has spread to Tipton Village, and unrest is brewing among the villagers. Edgar and Rose are torn between love, duty, and loyalty to family, and the rise of the Guild threatens to destroy Edgar’s very way of life.
In a land where magic is outlawed, both a wizard and the faery folk have taken an interest in Edgar. Sometimes there is no escaping destiny, but even sacrifice can lead to hope.
Buy link: Amazon Kindle