According to the immortal Dr. Seuss, “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.” There’s an element of truth in what he said that we can relate too.
When I was growing up, I was always called a dreamer, living my life in a fantasy world. I would watch cartoons and read comic books, even into adulthood. It never really bothered me, and today, it turns out it’s actually cool to be a geek.
That being said, I think fantasy is the best of all the genres because of its ability to cross over from one genre to the next. When you look at James Cameron’s Pandora in “Avatar” or George Lucas’ many worlds in the “Star Wars” series, it sits on par with the wilds of Westeros in “Game of Thrones” or Middle Earth from Tolkien. These are worlds created from the minds of these amazing writers.
That’s what I love about fantasy … It can be anything you want it to be but it is usually grounded in some form of mythology. That’s why I chose Avalon and characters from Arthurian legend for “Forever Avalon” and “The Dark Tides” novels. It gave me a great base on which to build my fantasy world.
Though the names and places are familiar, the world in which the sit is all my own. From the depths of the Gilded Halls of the Dwarves of Avalon to the splendor of The Elven Kingdom of Alfheimer and the darkness at the heart of Blackbriar Forest, this is my world … My Avalon!
I will admit, it helped being a “Dungeon Master” in my youth but that just brought it all together under one dungeon, so to speak. To put it quite literally, my imagination was blended together like a fruit smoothie, pouring out onto the pages of my novels.
This past week, I was speaking to a group of high school students at my alma mater, Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, N.J. They asked me about my favorite authors that inspired me. I said the usual, J.R.R. Tolkien and Michael Moorcock, but I left out some of the most influential.
C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs took us to far flung worlds out of time and space. Their words still resound today in books, movies and television. That’s what it means to be a great storyteller!
One of my favorite fantasy movies is Ridley Scott’s “Legend” with Tom Cruise; not really considered a blockbuster but a visually stunning film. Seeing Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is an image seared into my mind whenever I think of something that represents evil. The Elves, Fairies, Goblins and creatures were perfect in its simplicity and that’s the beauty of it.
That’s what I put into the design of my interpretation of Avalon … Simple yet memorable. I think of it as simply stated in this quote by author and cartoonist Lynda Barry … “We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to to be able to stay.” Truer words were never spoken …