What would you learn if you could be a dragon?
Ria, a character from my epic fantasy trilogy the Rise of the Fifth Order, discovers dragons are immune to fear – pretty much because they are immune to everything else too. Which is good. Because she is timid and must face strong enemies. So at least she can become a dragon.
I've loved epic fantasy since my preteen years because it allowed me to explore how I could become braver or smarter or so many other possibilities by becoming something that was greater than what I was. In the guise of a character, I could face insurmountable odds with magic and friends. I also used to refer to fantasy books as "brain candy," devouring as many as possible. But calling these books junk food for the mind does a disservice to the lessons that they impart.
Oh how much better it is to be the writer!
As an author, I get to be inside a character's head and experience an alternate life in their skin. My life accomplishments have involved saving kingdoms, best friends, and even a few enemies. I finish each book altered by what I've written, often wondering if it is the same for every author. And I know a book that touches me this deeply will have a similar effect on a reader.
These days most readers desire characters so real they feel like best friends from an alternate universe, and I love writing these types of stories. Characters wander into my mind with histories and personalities (and often abilities) wholly alien to me. What I learn from them is so much more than what they face (otherwise known as what I cruelly inflict in them). I've benefitted from simply being them for a brief time.
You see, I’ve always considered myself a feminist. But writing a scene between a major character and his wife who plays a minor (but very important) role in my currently being released series Friends of my Enemy, caught me by surprise and revealed that my life expectations as a woman are limited. Friends of my Enemy is dystopian dark fantasy, full of threats, political intrigue, and war. Byran’s desire to protect his wife and children by packing her off to their estate is completely understandable. If you believe a wife needs to be protected and isn’t the perfect person to help.
Happily Isabella flipped Byran's worry and expectations back on him, leaving me momentarily stunned. Raising the kids was supposed to be a good enough life goal for the person who got him elected in the first place? Not likely. And where the heck is he to do his share of the child rearing? In one brief interaction that I hadn't expected until I wrote it, I learned so much about how insidious culture can be and how limiting in life's goals, especially when you never noticed the limits.
I learn too from the characters in my epic fantasy series, both good and evil. Sinika, a Fire Elemental, is clever. He often out thought me as I wrote, so that I was always pondering why he was doing what he was doing until I fell into one of his plots as assuredly as the heroes. He plots a long game and I have to admire that. He taught me the value of keeping control of a situation, and smiling beatifically when a nemesis tries to ruffle feathers (saving the irritated curse words for private!). It is empowering to choose not to react to small strikes and keep sight of a greater goal, even if my plans are not as great as taking over the world. When events large enough to impact his ability to remain aloof catch him, his unravelling fall is far from graceful and a lesson that not everything will go according to plan. So be careful what you plot!
From the Rise of the Fifth Order, I've learned poise and kindness from Niri, how to see the best path for a community and to lead (even if they didn't want to go) from Darag, and to follow my heart despite everyone telling me not to from Lavinia. I know that somewhere in my subconsciousness lurks a very suave politician with the ability to motivate through riveting speeches (which is about my polar opposite!) because somehow I channeled Byran into being for Friends of my Enemy.
If you asked me which of the characters I've written are based on aspects of myself or friends/family, I would say none. But I've become aspects of them as I live their lives and write about their adventures, sharing grief and happiness, accomplishments and defeats. They've taught me so much, including if I do not feel up to a challenge to imagine myself as something greater, maybe one of them. Or even a dragon.
Autumn is the author of the best selling epic fantasy series the Rise of the Fifth Order. Born of Water, book 1, is perma-free everywhere! Her newest dark fantasy series, Friends of my Enemy will be released in full in 2015 - and it will be quite the adventure! Learn more about her and her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. Find her online on her Amazon Author Page, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Would you protect a girl whose forbidden abilities condemn her to death? Welcome to the world of Myrrah, ruled by the Church of Four Orders - Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. But there exists another gift, dubbed magic, which is considered an aberration by the Church. To be born with the powers of magic is to be condemned to death. To be born with the ability to control an element is to be born to a life serving the Church... and obeying its rules. One Priestess will stand against the Church to protect sixteen year old Ria, beginning an epic fantasy adventure that leads four unlikely friends across the breadth of their world to seek answers hidden in the buried archives of the Temple of Dust. Secrets from an ancient war and discoveries of hidden power lead to fight for survival that threaten to tear apart their world. What is magic and why does the Church want those who harbor its power exterminated?
A military dark fantasy with a touch of romance (because it is no fun when everyone dies and no one falls in love!) set in the near future. Our near future. Europe stands better prepared to maintain a civilized society in the face of global catastrophes, pandemics, terrorism, and a changing climate. The USA answered its troubles by establishing a military government. Set in Europe, this is a story about a small handful of people whose lives interconnect. People who become influential as the world falls into a war in an era tumbling toward chaos. Each seeks to save Europe, but not all influence is good even when intentions are for the best, and not all decisions can be made in time.