Monday, November 14, 2011


What do you see when you look at this tree? Try to look beyond the obvious...beyond identifying the type of tree, a cloudy day, etc. Daydream. Turn your imagination loose. Clear your mind and tap into the feelings that this image evokes in your heart and soul.

I see and feel a ghostly tree hiding chilling secrets from the past. What about those crumbling tombstones? Who lies beneath - and how did they die? I sense spirits lurking in the you? that an elf playing in the twisted, gnarled roots of this ancient tree?

As a writer, I frequently start with an image like this before spinning off into a bit of fantasy.

While fantasy and mythic stories have always been a part of our culture, there has been an explosion of interest in various genres of fantasy. Think J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter series, J.R.R. Tolkien's work, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Why are so many people today reading and writing fantasy?

As Philip Martin (author of A Guide to Fantasy Literature)writes:"Fantasy is about journeying to strange worlds - but it is ultimately about arriving, in a state of surprise and grace, at a place inside ourselves where we see our own world again with the wonder and the belief of a child."

Yes, fantasy allows us to escape to places where all things are possible. I will never forget my little grandaughter Madelaine's fantasy of being The Little Mermaid. She played the role, sang the songs, perched on a rock beside the pool in a dramatic mermaid pose. However, she got so absorbed in her fantasy that she dove into the pool...she couldn't swim yet! We immediately rescued our little mermaid from her fantasy.

Fantasy allows writers and readers to create and live in make-believe worlds of our own. Here, we ideally learn lessons about good and evil, right and wrong, before returning to the real world.

Fantasy includes a number of interesting categories including fairy tales, adventure, high fantasy, dark fantasy, supernatural/paranormal, and magical realism.

As a writer, I'm not even going to try creating an elaborate world of dungeons and dragons. My preference is "magical realism" which combines magical elements with the real world. The magical or supernatural elements I like to introduce into the ordinary world include paranormal spirits from the past.

I want my readers to come away with a sense of hope and reconnection with the childish dreams that many of us have locked away in the dusty closets of our minds.

I write because there are readers and reviewers like Beverly Pechin of Reader Views. After reading my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky, she wrote: "This novel will keep you intrigued, inspired, and hopeful. The way the author intertwines reality with fantasy simply leaves one to wonder if there aren't such beautiful possibilities out there for all of us."

Love to hear your thoughts about fantasy!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay


  1. Your writings are all"can't put the book down" fantastic...Looking forward to up coming Novels....Thank you for all of the great reads!

  2. Thanks, Louanne! You and our St Croix Writers are a wonderful source of support. I also love hearing the great stories and poems you all create.

  3. Great blog Janet.
    I'm a fantasy reader and writer. My book The Legends of Light is High Fantasy in poetry form, almost like a Norse saga. I've a few more novelettes on the way which are prose. No matter how much I think they are all made up they tend to turn out with a message to be learnt.
    As far as reading goes I'll read almost anything fantastical.
    Gill Shutt

  4. Jan, great blog post! Ever since I was a kid, Fantasy has been a long time favorite of mine. I began watching fantasy films, usually Disney films(Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty etc.) but also watched -- well, pretty much everything else too. I remember reading a Dragonlance novel years ago (it was the first "real" book I ever read)though I cannot recall what it's title was so many years later. I still remember buying it at the Salem Mall back where I grew up in Ohio. The book store may have been Waldens, but I'm not positive. It's funny how some of those details get lost, but I can remember exactly where the fantasy shelf was (way back in the corner) and I remember gobbling up the story. Over the years I've tried to read all sorts of fantasy -- but Lord of the Rings remains my favorite. Fantasy has a a way of reflecting the real world back at us in unique ways. It helps people deal with the bigger questions in life. Maybe someday I'll be able to fit in some time to do try my hand at fantasy in between my religious and spiritual writing schedule. Who knows? Again, great post Jan!