An awful lot of fantasy, and even some great fantasy, falls into the mistake of assuming that a good man will be a good king, that all that is necessary is to be a decent human being and when you're king everything will go swimmingly.
As Faulkner says, all of us have the capacity in us for great good and for great evil, for love but also for hate. I wanted to write those kinds of complex character in a fantasy, and not just have all the good people get together to fight the bad guy.
'Dreamsongs' allows me to show the scope of my writing - with personal commentary that puts the works in context and includes some autobiographical details intended to reveal how each piece came to be, what it represents, and how it has formed, or been informed by, my philosophy of writing.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
Fiction is lies; we're writing about people who never existed and events that never happened when we write fiction, whether its science fiction or fantasy or western mystery stories or so-called literary stories. All those things are essentially untrue. But it has to have a truth at the core of it.
I believe that a writer learns from every story he writes, and when you try different things, you learn different lessons. Working with other writers, as in Hollywood or in a shared world series, will also strengthen your skills, by exposing you to new ways of seeing the work, and different approaches to certain creative challenges.
I can see a scene in my head, and when I try to get it down in words on paper, the words are clunky; the scene is not coming across right. So frustrating. And there are days where it keeps flowing. Open the floodgates, and there it is. Pages and pages coming. Where the hell does this all come from? I don't know.
I don't know if I have any particular views about women in positions of power, though I do think it's more difficult for women, particularly in a Medieval setting. They have the additional problem that they're a woman and people don't want them in a position of power in an essentially patriarchal society.
I grew up with four T.V. channels. If you missed a show, you missed it. You gotta wait a week for the next one. I'd mail-order books: take a quarter, get an envelope, send off for it and wait until it arrived. I grew up waiting for things.