Complementing my blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and ninety-second, is of Lynne Cantwell.
Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual / NBC Radio News, and a number of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews.
Lynne has focused on writing fantasy novels for the past several years. Her work has gained some critical acclaim: Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles is a Quarter-finalist for the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award; and SwanSong was a finalist for the 2012 Global Ebook Award for classic fantasy.
In addition, Lynne is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited and writes a monthly post for The Indie Exchange. She holds a journalism degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University, and a paralegal certificate. She currently lives near Washington, DC.
And now from the author herself:
Fantasy and Why I Write It
It used to be that when people heard the word “fantasy,” they invariably thought of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. These days, they’re probably more likely to think of young adult blockbusters like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games trilogy. In any case, the genre is often written off as children’s literature and, hence, not taken seriously. (Although given how lucrative these three series in particular have been for Hollywood, maybe that’s changing.)
Fantasy has been around as long as people have been telling stories. Beowulf, the oldest surviving epic poem written in English, is a fantasy. So is The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, and so are the stories of King Arthur. Pretty much any time magic or something supernatural shows up in a book, you can probably categorize it as fantasy.
“Probably” is the operative word. Personally, I consider magic realism (think Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, and even Toni Morrison’s Beloved) to be a subgenre of fantasy, although literary fiction purists would vehemently disagree with me (and have). On the other side of the coin, the line between fantasy and science fiction has become so blurred over the past few years that they’ve lately been lumped together as speculative fiction.
Wikipedia lists ten thematic subgenres for fantasy, some of which I’d never heard of before (fantasy of manners, anyone?). If I had to pick from their list, I would say I tend to write in two: mythic, which is inspired by myth, folklore or fairy tales; and contemporary, which is set in the present day, and its further subgenre, urban fantasy. Come to think of it, my first published novel, The Maidens’ War, is both mythic and contemporary fantasy. Half of the story takes place in sixth century Central Europe, and the other half is set in 1980s West Virginia.
My current project is an urban fantasy series called The Pipe Woman Chronicles, and again, it’s sort of a blend of both. The springboard is the Lakota Sioux creation myth about Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman, but the books are set in today’s Denver, Colorado.
This seems to be how it works for me: something about a myth or folktale I’ve read grabs me, and sends my brain off on a merry creative journey. The ancient history half of The Maidens’ War is based on a Czech legend.
SwanSong is a retelling of the Irish tale about the children of Lír, whose jealous stepmother turned them into swans and further cursed them with a nine-hundred-year exile.
Despite the magical trappings, the characters in these myths and legends seem like real people to me. I can easily imagine how I would feel in their situation, and I feel the need to tell the parts of their stories that other storytellers have left out.
The best literature, no matter what genre, does exactly this: It gets inside the heads of its characters and makes them seem real to the reader. No matter what form fantasy literature morphs into next, I’m confident it will continue to entertain us with believable characters who just happen to have a little magic.
Thank you, Lynne.
You can find more about Lynne and her writing via…
- Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lynnecantwell
- Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lynnecantwell
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/696603.Lynne_Cantwell
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynne-Cantwell/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynneCantwell
- Blog: http://hearth-myth.blogspot.com
- Seized video trailer: http://youtu.be/-LfZfOUpHVw
- Fissured video trailer: http://youtu.be/YgpsESx7V0s
- Tapped video trailer: http://youtu.be/p7PKF6xOprc
- Gravid video trailer: http://youtu.be/5VcYVycLBRA
If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/opportunities-on-this-blog (the spotlights are option (a)) or email me for details.