Welcome to the latest installment of my newsletters, where I share special news about my books and my writing. They come out on the first week of each month.

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At home in a fantasy world

Why is most of my work heroic fantasy? Why set a tale of adventure in a fantasy world instead of in the contemporary everyday world, or in the exotic past?

All fiction is some form of make-believe, even when it claims to tell a true story. We get into the heads of our characters and see what drives them, why they make the choices they do, and how they perform under stress. We can’t help but put ourselves in their places, to try on their situation.

I find that easier to do when I’m less weighed down by the wholly mundane parts of my own life — when I’m in a world that operates by more exotic rules, and every choice is heightened by its unfamiliarity. While a character must, of course, be grounded in some form of earning a living and its associated duties, better that it be something that’s interesting to us mortals trapped in our daily routines, looking over his shoulder in worlds not quite like our own.

In The Hounds of Annwn, I get to travel with George Talbot Traherne, bored with his contemporary life, into a more primal world that adjoins the one he’s used to, where he can broaden into a power and a force that lets him anchor a family and deal with gods.

In The Chained Adept, I get to see many different cultures through the eyes of Penrys, lost herself and aching for resolution, and see how she seizes hold of tasks beyond her personal revenge and finds a place for herself to build a new life.

I can’t walk out the door of my mundane house and into such a world, but I can tell stories about those worlds and the people in them, and then I can put myself into their place (and you can, too), which is almost as good.

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