I once was at a book-signing and attempted to strike up a conversation with a customer who had entered the bookstore.
"Do you like epic fantasy?" I said.
"I gave that up in seventh grade, buddy," he said with a sneer. Then he strode away toward the historical fiction department, quite proud of himself for putting me in my childish place.
From my experience, only about one in five adults enjoy reading epic fantasy. The 20 percent who do are rabid about it. But the 80 percent who don't seem to view epic fantasy as little more than kids stuff.
I remember once describing my work to someone at a party, and I emphasized that a lot of my series is adult in nature, equivalent to an R-rated movie that is borderline X. Not fifteen minutes later, I heard that same person telling someone else that I write "Harry Potter stories."
Not that there's anything wrong with "Harry Potter stories," but you get my gist.
So I've been asking myself, why do I enjoy reading and writing epic fantasy so much? Am I just a kid at heart? It doesn't feel that way to me. A lot of the epic fantasy out there right now is fiction at its highest levels -- and is certainly sophisticated enough to entertain adults.
Obviously, my childhood had a lot to do with my love for the genre. The ideas for The Death Wizard Chronicles literally were a lifetime in developing. I grew up on the waterfront in Florida and was lucky to have about ten other boys my age all living on the same street. We hung out morning, noon and night, playing all the usual sports that young boys adore. But we also were obsessed with fantastical games that contained super powers and super heroes. Rather than “grow out of it,” my love for magic and monsters stayed with me into adulthood.
The historical fiction department has some great books, I know, but whenever I grab a cup of coffee and wander through a bookstore, you'll know where to find me. Heck, I gave up historical fiction in the seventh grade.
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