YA Indie Carnival : Why magical realism and fantasy?

Today on the Carnival we are all talking about why we write the genre we write. It’s fascinating to me how writers are pulled to one specific genre. Although I know lots of writers who like writing in different ones, I am always drawn to magical realism and fantasy. First let me ‘splain. People always ask me, what’s magical realism? It’s really one-foot-in-reality stories where one thing is fantastic. So it’s like your regular day only suddenly birds start talking to you. Or you go to the grocery store and you come to find that the frozen section is haunted. It’s a lot like that. It’s wrapped up in the way the characters telling the story perceive reality. Of course the grandaddy of magical realism is Gabriel García Márquez, one of my all-time favorite authors, but there were those who came before. Its roots are in Latin American literature. Winnemucca is a magical realism tale.

I love this post because honestly, until I started answering questions for interviews after Winnemucca’s release I’d never really pondered the whys of my writing. My love of magical realism came from my parents. My love of travel as well. It’s not because of what they read, but how they live their lives. They are world travelers and I never knew anything different. Dad worked in, among other countries, El Salvador, The Dominican Republic, Venezuela and would come home with tall tales, exotic slide shows, steel drums and mariachi music and our house was filled with cigar smoke and Venezuelans, Egyptians, Russians, you name it, all spinning stories. At fourteen, I would visit the Amazon jungle. This might explain why I’m drawn to storytelling and the romantic and why travel is usually a big part of how my characters interpret their realities. I was surrounded by the extraordinary. Most families I grew up with didn’t live in this way. But, it doesn’t truly explain the magical realism or fantasy aspect of my writing. Again, I credit my parents for this.

My folks both suffered huge tragedies during World War II. Epic. And yet, they never harbored ill-will or lived in the past. To their great credit, I believe they used sheer will, a type of magic, to reinvent themselves in order to only see a world of possibilities. If there are ever any two people in this world who always look on the bright side of life, it’s my parents. And that runs deep inside of me. So as I grew up and began to understand what they conquered, I appreciated one of my dad’s sayings in new ways, Perception is reality. So I guess it isn’t hard to understand why I enjoy playing with my characters’ perceptions and explore what kind of magic it takes for people to see a light in the darkness.

My parents make an art out of seeing magic in the every day. And it’s this mixture of the exotic and magical that I love to bring to my stories.

Thanks for taking a ride with me:) Next, take a ride with:

The Fuji Mermaid Danny Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews
Leopard Girl Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, and The Diamond City Trilogy.
Fire Breather Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
The Magician Wren Emerson Author of I Wish and a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Strong Woman Nichole A. Williams Author of Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles.
Champion Sword Swallower Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Snake Charmer Amy Maurer Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Pretzel Woman Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms.
The Giant T. R. Graves T.R. Graves: Author of Warriors of the Cross.
Woman With A Song That Hypnotizes Cyndi Tefft Author of Between
Jungle Woman P.J. Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis.
Shape Shifter Alicia McCalla Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free

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10 Comments on “YA Indie Carnival : Why magical realism and fantasy?

  1. Hi Laura,

    I was really moved by your story today. How awesome it must have been to grow up in your house, I’m jealous. I would have to say that my love of writing and fantasy stemmed from growing up in a world that was entirely opposite of yours. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but they are entirely ordinary. My dad is was an accountant (bean counter, how practical) and my mother was a phlebotomist (needle sticker, ouch!). It was my ordinary life that I escaped from with my books and writing projects.

    I do have to credit my mom with some of my passion. When ever I picture my mother she usually is perceived holding a book in her hand. She and I spend hours to this day discussing our favorite books and characters.

    Thanks for your touching story today! I look forward to your next post!

    • Amy,

      Are you sitting down? When I went to college, guess what my dad wanted me to be? An ACCOUNTANT. I got early acceptance in engineering. I wanted to do what he did. But, alas, he felt differently. I was a horrible, horrible accounting student. Thankfully I had an Industrial Design elective and my parents blessing to pursue a different path:) Anyway, when you look at it, accountants have inspired some great literature. Scrooge was an accountant. And I think it was that realization that lead me to finally talk to my parents about a new career path:)

      Actually the great lesson my folks taught me was how to appreciate, really cherish, what most people call ordinary. Because of their experiences, they take nothing––absolutely nothing, even a sunny day––for granted. There is great beauty in the ordinary:)

      I love the picture of your mom with a book and her passion. Both my folks are great readers too. They love non-fiction and Michener, which I’m sure comes as no great surprise:)

      Thanks for your kind words! Can’t wait to read your post:)

  2. Your post is so inspiring. I loved this SOOO much: “I enjoy playing with my characters’ perceptions and explore what kind of magic it takes for people to see a light in the darkness.”

    Let’s all be a light for the world that lingers too long in the darkness. <333

  3. Hi Laura:

    I love that you’re a traveler. Visiting so many places helps to feel magic. I love it. Hoping that you’re working on your guest blog post. So exciting!

    • Alicia,

      It’s kind of a balance. In Winnemucca, Ginny says “Standing still’s as foreign to some as the road is to others.” And you’re right, travel is magical, always has been for me. But I do find I need the magic of a nest to:) It’s nice to have both. I’m hoping to get the guest post done this week! Welcome to the carnival!

  4. Perception is reality…This perfectly articulates the goals we are striving for when we spin our tales. If the reader perceives something/someone as real (no matter how unreal), authors are successful. The beauty of this is that it translates into our everyday lives, and as you’ve shown can help people through tough times. Thanks for sharing.

    • A flat tire can be the worst day of your character’s life, or the best day depending on what’s going on with your character:) It really fun to play around with back stories and know what they are bringing to the party! Thanks for stopping by Tina!

  5. My old supervisor used to say, ‘If you don’t like something, change your mind.’ He is a gay black man, and one of the coolest bosses ever. But I was reminded of that when you talked about perception, and how differing perception changes everything. In some cultures perception creates reality, not the other way around. Nice post!

    • Rachel, It’s true. Who’s to say which is which, really:) Thanks for sharing your story about your supervisor. I like his saying:) [I wonder if you got a bit sick of hearing it at work, though ;) ] Thanks for stopping by!

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