Of Scribes and Kings and that Pesky Genre…

I often get asked by readers or curious bystanders, “What kind of books do you write?”
 
I’ve always struggled to answer, because to be honest, I’ve never come across anything else they are similar to. I like to describe them as “fantasy that reads like historical fiction.” Author Elizabeth Chadwick said of The Scribe’s Daughter that it has echoes of being historical without containing any actual history. Or as author Sharon Kay Penman says, the book[s] “could be easily rooted in the Middle Ages but isn’t.” Sticklers of genre would probably call it high concept and low fantasy, but I’d say it’s only just (think Game of Thrones – the first book – by George RR Martin.)
 
So what is low fantasy? Author Laura Pohl defines it in this blog article as “books in which the fantasy elements appear, but they do very little for the story. Sometimes it can also be a fantasy set in a different world, but with a place that has no magic at all!”  She gives examples of Daughters of Ruin by KD Castner, also Game of Thrones, Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.
 
But hold the phone… I think a case could be made that my books also blur the lines between genre fiction and literary fiction, because I set out first and foremost to write a character-driven book with Kassia. That is the definition of literary fiction (for the most part). Plot comes second, and it did for me, even if the plot is quite strong.
 
So if you’ve ever wondered why I stammer if you’ve asked me this question in the past, this is why. *points wildly at above text*  It’s hard to put that all into a single sentence!

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