How I Became a Fantasy Writer

Almost every writer I’ve met said they wanted to be a writer since they were young. At age six, I wanted to be a unicorn. A beautiful, magical unicorn. That should tell you where my life was heading from an early start.

My earliest book memories were my mother reading to us the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress and The Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, I couldn’t wait until the next night to find out what happened to the Pevensie siblings, so I found my mother’s copy and hid in a corner and finished it that afternoon.

As the years went by, I added more fantasy to my collection, starting with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. My father was a fantasy nerd before it was cool and introduced me to even more stories: Dune, Conan, A Princess of Mars, and many others. When I wasn’t reading, I was imagining. So it’s no surprise that eventually I started writing my own stories.

In 2004, shortly after the birth of my daughter, I needed a creative outlet. My husband always said I should be a writer. I usually turned him down. I was a reader, not a writer. But then I had this idea and I couldn’t escape it. I started writing about this woman who could see inside people’s souls with a touch of her hand. Using the fantasy genre, I explored what it would be like if we could see people the way God sees people: both the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Years later, that story became my first published book: Daughter of Light. Since then, I’ve continued to write in the speculative genre. I always thought the Frankenstein story was a great story about how we should be careful of what we invent, and how the monster wanted to be loved. So I wrote a similar story about a young woman who—because of science—is turning into a monster from the inside out using a unique genre called steampunk (steampunk is a story set in a Victorian or Wild West era with a high level of technology ran on steam). A year later, Tainted came out, which won the Realm Award for best steampunk and Awakened, the following book, won the Carol Award for best Christian speculative.

It took years for me to embrace the fact that I love fantasy, and that there is nothing wrong with that genre. In fact, the next generation is desperately looking for something beyond our world. Just look at the books and movies young people read and watch. And what better way to introduce them to God (who is the most fantastical!), than with stories set in amazing worlds, filled with flawed and searching people, who find light and hope.

Along with writing fantasy, I attend an amazing conference every year for writers of faith who write specifically in the fantasy and science fiction genres, Realm Makers. It’s probably the only writing conference where you will find people walking around in geeky shirts, debating the eating habits of dragons, and dressing up as their favorite characters for the awards banquet. I have a steampunk outfit I wear especially for the occasion. It’s one of the highlights of my year!

Looking back, I never did become a unicorn. Instead, I became a fantasy writer. Which is almost the same thing. Then again, those silver hairs I see starting to peek out at the top of my head could be an indication that my dream just might be coming true.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Morgan! Readers, you can check out the first chapter of Mark of the Raven, or visit Morgan’s website for more about her and her books. What is a favorite character from a fantasy novel you’ve read?

5 thoughts on “How I Became a Fantasy Writer

  1. Growing up, one of my absolute favorite books was Beauty by Robin McKinley, with Beauty herself being one of the best characters ever. (And I have a personal conspiracy theory that someone on the Disney team loved it too and borrowed heavily for their animated version . . .)

  2. I really enjoyed this post! Maybe it was the unicorn reference. LOL Definitely bumping The Ravenwood Saga series to the top of the TBR. I’ve not yet read Christian Fiction fantasy and now I have some to look forward to! One of my favorites is The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa.

  3. Hallo, Hallo Ms Busse,

    I had the lovely honour of being on your recent blog tour for the Ravenwood Saga – I am in love with this series and the characters within it. I spied this post in my WP Reader and knew I had to read it as I am still so dearly attached within this world you’ve created it would be lovely to know a bit more about you as a writer, too!

    I might not have wanted to become a shapeshifter embracing the unicorn species, but I loved reading about unicorns when I was a young girl – whilst I was also a writer developing her craft by putting words and stories together – both on paper and through computer programmes for children like Reader Rabbit or the Mad Libs books where you had to insert your own adjectives, etc to make a concept work. Equally, the writing was on the wall for me so to speak, too! lol

    I’m an eclectic reader – though I love the Speculative Fiction realms, I also cross-read into Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense, Thriller, etc as I love the beauty of what I can find within those genres of interest. However, my first novel I developed was Sci Fi and I currently co-host a month long event (@WyrdAndWonder) celebrating Fantasy – so my heart is clearly still within its bookish roots even if I personally write outside #SpecFic as well. My readerly wanderings are equally diverse which is why I have appreciated finding your Ravenwood series as it was something I was desiring to find and am happily championing now that I have!! 🙂

    I was only confused on one point – why was having a love and affinity for Fantasy wrong? A lot of us are hybrid readers – anchoured to both mainstream and INSPY markets – so I was a bit confused why you didn’t feel you should or could read Fantasy? Maybe I missed something somewhere… as most of this post was a celebration of the genre which I felt was rather apt.

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