Meet Tali Spencer

on Sep 17, 2012 by

The Trouble with Fantasy

Every world is an adventure. Some are fun and some are dangerous. All of them have rules. I like rules, because rules are what make worlds challenging.

When people ask me what I write, I hesitate. There is no clear answer. I tell my hairdresser I write romance. She understands romance. So do my husband’s co-workers and my aunts in West Virginia. Romance is the perfect answer to the question “What do you write?” because everyone knows what romance is. When people hear that answer, they either beam with approval or crack an smirk because they think it’s tripe. But I never have to explain it.

Occasionally I admit that I write fantasy, and less often that it’s gay fantasy.

The trouble with fantasy as a genre is how much ground it covers. The field is vast. It can mean the high fantasy of George R.R. Martin or Tolkien, sweeping dynastic sagas which create massive new worlds—or it can be a whimper of weird in an insurance office. Urban and paranormal fantasy can have world-building that’s nearly as extensive as high fantasy, but the surroundings tend to be cozier. Seattle becomes home territory for packs of werewolves. New Orleans resonates with voodoo and vampires. Some fantasy has gods and elves; others retell classic fairy tales. Characters may not be human at all, or may have magical powers or connections to things our own world does not support, like immortality and talking plants. Fantasy can edge close to science fiction or abandon science completely.

So much leeway makes fantasy hard to explain to people like my mother, for example, who understands romance but thinks fantasy worlds might just be a sign of mental illness. She worried about that when I first started writing in my teens and thought I might end up in an asylum. She didn’t realize my worlds were saner than this one and, besides, I knew they weren’t real. I would rather have moved into one of mine. Instead, I stayed in this one and gave her grandchildren.

My mother is happy about my writing romance. Romance writers end up married.

Most of my published books are M/M. It just worked out that way. I have a thing for heroes and gay male fantasy allows me to double up on those. Not to mention there’s terrific male bonding to be had in fantasy, where men team up to defeat evil. History is filled with gay men who led armies, overthrew kingdoms, and formed intense relationships with other men. I create new worlds and new histories with men doing the same. The societies in which these men live are sometimes more accepting of gay men than our world, but not always. My first gay male story was born when I realized two of the characters in my mainstream epic fantasy weren’t just business partners. I really enjoyed writing about them, and other stories followed.

Sorcerer’s Knot is a cautionary tale about wizards and tentacle monsters. The Prince of Winds is a story of enemies becoming lovers and teaming up to defeat a curse. My mother, however, has read Captive Heart, my romance about a sheltered princess falling for the emperor who conquers her country. That book’s a bestseller, possibly because I told my hairdresser about it.

People ask why I don’t write contemporary novels. It’s not that I can’t. I write contemporary short stories for anthologies. It’s just that I enjoy creating worlds, new ones, more than I enjoy recreating this one. Other people do that wonderfully and I love reading their stories, but when writing my own I want to explore lands where gods can be trapped on tiny islands, or mortals gifted with special powers can ride carpets on the wind. I love writing about magic-using thieves and sex-addled barbarians. It’s fun to play with nefarious slave traders, slimy courtiers, matchmaking duchesses, and warring gods. Few things make me happier than creating societies in which characters can live out lives of fantastic adventure.

I want to thank Michael for hosting me and allowing me to prattle about fantasy and romance on his website. It’s been fun!

Links to me and my books:

My Blog: http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @tali_spencer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_661

Resplendence Author Page: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/490-201-103-501-1–captive-heart-pride-of-uttor-series-book-one-by-tali-spencer.html

The Trouble with Fantasy

Every world is an adventure. Some are fun and some are dangerous. All of them have rules. I like rules, because rules are what make worlds challenging.

When people ask me what I write, I hesitate. There is no clear answer. I tell my hairdresser I write romance. She understands romance. So do my husband’s co-workers and my aunts in West Virginia. Romance is the perfect answer to the question “What do you write?” because everyone knows what romance is. When people hear that answer, they either beam with approval or crack an smirk because they think it’s tripe. But I never have to explain it.

Occasionally I admit that I write fantasy, and less often that it’s gay fantasy.

The trouble with fantasy as a genre is how much ground it covers. The field is vast. It can mean the high fantasy of George R.R. Martin or Tolkien, sweeping dynastic sagas which create massive new worlds—or it can be a whimper of weird in an insurance office. Urban and paranormal fantasy can have world-building that’s nearly as extensive as high fantasy, but the surroundings tend to be cozier. Seattle becomes home territory for packs of werewolves. New Orleans resonates with voodoo and vampires. Some fantasy has gods and elves; others retell classic fairy tales. Characters may not be human at all, or may have magical powers or connections to things our own world does not support, like immortality and talking plants. Fantasy can edge close to science fiction or abandon science completely.

So much leeway makes fantasy hard to explain to people like my mother, for example, who understands romance but thinks fantasy worlds might just be a sign of mental illness. She worried about that when I first started writing in my teens and thought I might end up in an asylum. She didn’t realize my worlds were saner than this one and, besides, I knew they weren’t real. I would rather have moved into one of mine. Instead, I stayed in this one and gave her grandchildren.

My mother is happy about my writing romance. Romance writers end up married.

Most of my published books are M/M. It just worked out that way. I have a thing for heroes and gay male fantasy allows me to double up on those. Not to mention there’s terrific male bonding to be had in fantasy, where men team up to defeat evil. History is filled with gay men who led armies, overthrew kingdoms, and formed intense relationships with other men. I create new worlds and new histories with men doing the same. The societies in which these men live are sometimes more accepting of gay men than our world, but not always. My first gay male story was born when I realized two of the characters in my mainstream epic fantasy weren’t just business partners. I really enjoyed writing about them, and other stories followed.

Sorcerer’s Knot is a cautionary tale about wizards and tentacle monsters. The Prince of Winds is a story of enemies becoming lovers and teaming up to defeat a curse. My mother, however, has read Captive Heart, my romance about a sheltered princess falling for the emperor who conquers her country. That book’s a bestseller, possibly because I told my hairdresser about it.

People ask why I don’t write contemporary novels. It’s not that I can’t. I write contemporary short stories for anthologies. It’s just that I enjoy creating worlds, new ones, more than I enjoy recreating this one. Other people do that wonderfully and I love reading their stories, but when writing my own I want to explore lands where gods can be trapped on tiny islands, or mortals gifted with special powers can ride carpets on the wind. I love writing about magic-using thieves and sex-addled barbarians. It’s fun to play with nefarious slave traders, slimy courtiers, matchmaking duchesses, and warring gods. Few things make me happier than creating societies in which characters can live out lives of fantastic adventure.

I want to thank Michael for hosting me and allowing me to prattle about fantasy and romance on his website. It’s been fun!

Links to me and my books:

My Blog: http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @tali_spencer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_661

Resplendence Author Page: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/490-201-103-501-1–captive-heart-pride-of-uttor-series-book-one-by-tali-spencer.html



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