I love the fantasy genre because it’s freeing. While I tend to read fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien because it’s the easiest thing to find, or it was, since that’s changing, it pleases me to no end to read a synopsis and see something entirely new.
There is a place, and there has to be a place, for dudes with swords rescuing maidens and slaying dragons. At some point, though, I realized that just because I read and enjoyed those books didn’t mean I had to write them, or that I couldn’t also enjoy other books. It’s self-evident in retrospect, but at the time, it was a slow, cautious process.
The first Valdemar book was a revelation for many reasons. A girl adventuring in pants, the acknowledgement of domestic violence, the understanding that a country of any size is also a country of multiple cultures, queer characters…Whatever problems I might find with them now, personally or philosophically, Valdemar was a fundamental text when I prodded myself to write. It was something NEW.
It seems wasteful not to take advantage of all that potential. I still have to push myself to go in unexpected places. It’s a challenge to make people seem like people, no matter what.