We are the bad guys—the kidnappers, the marauders, the homewreckers. We take children away from their schoolwork, mothers away from their children, husbands away from their wives. We snatch people from their lives and thrust them headlong into new worlds where everything is frightening and magical.
I’m referring to fantasy writers, of course.
Earlier this week, I got to thinking about the first true urban fantasy I read, Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking. About five years ago, my then-boyfriend (now fiance) told me about the second book in the series, The Good, The Bad, and the Undead. He kept talking about this witch with a foul-mouthed pixie for a sidekick, and how the witch accidentally made her boyfriend her familiar.
I was intrigued. I requested the book the from the library, and when it came in, I was swept off my feet and into a world where witches, vampires, werewolves, elves, pixies, fairies, and who-knows-what-else roamed the streets of Cincinnati, that most mundane of Midwestern cities. I’d never read anything like it.
My whole real world changed. My interest in being a novelist revived and I wrote to Kim Harrison to ask her advice—I still have her email response, because it inspired me to really think about my own fiction again.
It’s quite a responsibility. Not only do we create worlds and carry people off into them, we can permanently change their outlook on their own world.
What books have captivated you, taken you to another realm, and then altered the fabric of your own world?