Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From Formspring: What do you feel is most commercially viable about your books?

That's a great question, but everyone is going to think I asked it myself. I didn't, here is a picture of the Formspring page where I found the question:

flanked by the regular jackassery that I deal with from my friends and family, under another good question at the top (from SharonTheRose) which will be the subject of a blog later this week. I don't know if that proves I didn't make up the question, but I promise I didn't. Again, it's actually a really good question.

I've been told my books are easy to read without being insipid. I rewrote my first book multiple times tightening the prose so as not to demand too much of my readers. I accepted that, as a new and unknown writer, I would have to prove my story worth reading from the very beginning. Fantasy books tend to be very challenging to read, because they ask more of the readers than most books. Fantasy is very much about creating a new world, or at least altering the one in which we live. Few other genre's make this demand of their readers, except some very heavy science fiction and alien horror. This can be daunting for a reader, since most people are busy enough dealing with their own real world and don't have the time or interest to dive into an imaginary one.

That's not to say there aren't a lot of readers who do like a complete immersion experience in their reading material. I've been told by readers that my books accomplish both: they give readers who don't want to have to learn a new fantasy world something enjoyable to read, while also providing hard-core fantasy buffs a new world to explore. If you're wondering how I did that, the answer is: I don't know. It wasn't my intent, it's just how I prefer to write. I don't think a reader should have to prove their intelligence or dedication to an author's work by understanding it. It is the author's job to prove to the reader they have something worth their time.

Something I did intend when writing my books was to tell a story for grown-ups. A lot of fine urban fantasy is written for young adults. There isn't anything wrong with that, but there are a lot of adult fans of those books who I feel are yearning for something a bit more adult. The battles are full-force and bloody, no punches (or claws) pulled. The love scenes aren't are all blacked out. The protagonists are adults, with adult problems.

Finally, I think there are a lot of readers out there who grew up reading the Harry Potter books, then moved on to the Twilight series in their early teens. Now they are grown and looking for a new series, something that's grown-up, too. I humbly submit The Dragon's Blood Chronicles for their approval. And for yours.