by Guest poster Joanne GuidoccioFrom the start, I knew there would be problems when I combined genres. Unlike other fantasy and science fiction writers, I didn’t want to focus exclusively on the out-of-world elements. Instead, I wanted to write the kind of fantasy I could actually sit down and read. I’m one of the few people on this planet who could not read past Chapter 1 of the first Harry Potter novel. I also avoid books that feature werewolves, vampires, witches, and other dark creatures.
This begs the question: Why write fantasy?
My response: Why not write light and breezy fantasy for boomer women who are also seeking hope and inspiration?
You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds, and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.(Hans Christian Anderson,1836 )
But when the Disney version was released, I still wasn’t satisfied. I realize now that I wanted to read about a different kind of mermaid, one who could enjoy a happy and successful life, with or without the prince. And maybe one who wasn’t quite so young or so beautiful.
Keeping this vision of an older and wiser mermaid firmly in mind, I wrote Between Land and Sea, Book 1 of the Mediterranean Trilogy.
In my early query letters, I described the book as urban fantasy. After reading and rejecting the manuscript, one agent commented that my novel was a bit too light to be considered urban fantasy. She recommended I use “contemporary women’s fiction with fantasy elements” in future queries. After using that mouthful several times, I reverted back to urban fantasy or simply fantasy. I was happy and relieved when senior editor Debby Gibson classified Between Land and Sea as a paranormal romance.
But some confusion followed when the book came out on Amazon. One friend confided: “When I heard it was a paranormal romance, I assumed you were writing about witches or werewolves. I’m so glad to hear you’re writing about mermaids.”
In The Coming of Arabella (Book 2 of the Mediterranean Trilogy), I continue with the fantasy elements and add a psychological twist: Arabella is somewhere on the Narcissism/Sociopath continuum.
Ideas are percolating about Book 3—The Making of a Mermaid Psychic – fantasy hen lit with a New Age flavor. Hmm...I may need another descriptor.
On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.
Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.
Connect with JoanneWebsite: http://joanneguidoccio.com/
Thank you for being here, Joanne. I love the term Fantasy Hen Lit.
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