Since my published books are all epic fantasy, it’s a safe bet that fantasy is my favourite genre. I love the wide open possibilities of it – when I open a new-to-me book, I love that tingle of anticipation that comes from knowing that almost anything could happen. Magic! Wizards hurling thunderbolts! Peculiar beasties! Non-human races! A whole world to explore from the safety of my armchair! And dragons – dragons make everything better.
And yet, everything still has to conform to its own internal logic. Having magic around isn’t a free pass to getting out of any sort of mess. I’m particularly sceptical of healing magic – it’s just too easy if everyone’s injuries and illnesses can be cured with an airy wave of a wizard’s hand. I like a bit of uncertainty. In my own books, healing is something that mages can attempt, but it doesn’t always work. In The Fuller’s Apprentice, by Angela Holder, healing magic is an intricate and difficult process, akin to surgery, and there are certain diseases that can’t be fixed, no matter what.
A lot of fantasy these days is quite dark, and happy endings can’t be guaranteed (as in George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones), but traditional fantasy is often based on the battle between good and evil, and there’s a satisfying resonance for the reader when, in the end, after many tribulations, good triumphs and the darkness is vanquished, thus restoring the natural order of the world.
Outside fantasy, I also read Regency romances, murder mysteries and the occasional suspense story. Again, these all tend to have satisfying endings: the hero and heroine find true love, the murderer is caught, the bad guys are defeated. All is well in the world. It’s pure escapism, of course, but we all need an escape from the real world occasionally, don’t we?
Footnote: Authors Answer is the brainchild of blogger Jay Dee Archer, of I Read Encyclopedias For Fun. You can read the answers to this question by his eclectic bunch of authors here. More recently, Erica Dakin, of the Theft And Sorcery blog, has been answering the questions independently. You can read her answer to this question here.