I am happy to share a guest post from author Erin A. Jensen, who tells us...
What Attracts Readers to Fantasy?
Erin A. Jensen
My reading tastes are pretty eclectic these days. I’ll happily dive into the pages of any story that catches my interest, but my favorite genre to read has always been fantasy. It’s also my writing genre of choice. I meet plenty of readers who tell me they don’t like fantasy but they love my stories. My guess is they’ve never given the genre a chance because the word fantasy automatically makes them think Lord of The Rings. I personally love Tolkien, but wizards, hobbits and magic rings aren’t for everyone. Fortunately, there’s a lot more to the fantasy genre than just epic fantasy. The genre I write in is contemporary fantasy, which means the story takes place in our modern world but there are “other worldly” elements to the tale.
So, what is it that attracts readers to fantasy? I think it’s the fact that fantasy provides an escape from reality. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean there is something wrong with your real life. Let’s face it — changing diapers, cleaning house, sitting in a cubicle, or taking out the trash isn’t terribly thrilling. When you get a chance to sit down and relax at the end of a long day, slipping into a world where magic exists, dragons roam the earth, or angels visit your dreams each night is a welcome break from everyday life. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my downtime reading about ordinary people doing the everyday things that fill up my days in the real world. A comfortable happy real life existence is great, but it doesn’t make your heart race with fear or excitement or move you to tears. As a fantasy author, I haven’t done my job unless I’ve made you feel something deeply. If you ask me, the best cure for frustration with project deadlines or toddler tantrums is a brief vacation to an alternate world where magic and dragons and fairies are real!
Erin A. Jensen
A story about the purpose of life, the healing power of fandom, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Tormented by the in-crowd at school on a daily basis, there were two things that gave fifteen-year-old Abigail Perkins the strength to keep going—her best friend, Danny Cobb; and her favorite television show, Supernatural. But the night Danny’s mother calls to say that his battle with cancer is nearing its end, and the doctors don’t expect him to live through the night, even Supernatural can’t dull the ache in her heart.
Devastated by her impending loss and crushed that Danny’s mother won’t allow her to visit him one last time, Abigail crawls into bed and cries herself to sleep that night; and she wakes to find Supernatural’s most endearing angel standing at the foot of her bed.
Told from Abigail’s perspective as she nears the end of her long life and revisits the moments that defined it, this story was inspired by the deep connection that Supernatural fans feel with the show’s beloved characters, and the show’s miraculous ability to help its fans through troubled times.
I shuffled across the room with a heavy heart, crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep, aching in the knowledge that I’d most likely wake in a world that my friend no longer inhabited.
That was the first night that he ever came to me in a dream.
“Would you like to say your goodbyes now, Abigail?” a male voice inquired from the foot of my bed.
A deep male voice—rousing me from sleep in the middle of the night—probably should’ve terrified me, but it didn’t because this man’s voice was a familiar comfort.
I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, which was pointless since I was obviously still dreaming. There at the foot of my bed, stood my favorite television angel, dressed in a button-down shirt, crooked necktie, and that iconic trench coat of his. He was beautiful, flawless bone structure, stylishly mussed-up hair, and piercing blue eyes that looked far too wise to belong to this man at the peak of physical perfection.
I blinked my eyes a few times to reboot my senses, but he still stood there waiting for an answer. “Castiel?” I muttered in a groggy whisper, “Am I dreaming?”
He smiled at me with more compassion than I’d ever witnessed in any human set of eyes. “Yes. You are, but that doesn’t make this any less real.”
“I’ve lost my mind,” I muttered as my eyes filled with tears. “My best friend is dying and I’m sitting on my bed, talking to a fictional angel.”
His brilliant blue eyes brimmed with sorrow as he shook his head. “You are talking to a real angel. I chose this form because the fictional angel is a comfort to you.”
I blinked my eyes a few more times, expecting him to be gone each time my eyelids lifted. “What?”
His apologetic frown did nothing to detract from his beauty. “There isn’t much time to explain, Abigail. Danny is not long for this world, and I know how much he means to you. His mother is wrong to deny you the opportunity to say goodbye.”
“How would we get there?” I muttered, ignoring the way my heart ached at the angel’s words. If I focused on that pain, I would fall apart, this dream would morph into something nightmarish, and I’d lose this imaginary chance to see my friend one last time. “I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to leave the house with strange men who slip into my bedroom in the middle of the night.”
“I’m not a man,” he whispered as he touched a hand to my foot.
The instant he touched me, my room melted away and I found myself sitting on Danny’s hospital bed.
My eyes filled with tears at the sight of all the tubes and wires connected to my friend’s brittle body. I looked up and felt comforted by the angel’s presence.
“He can hear you,” the angel standing beside the bed whispered.
“Danny,” I croaked as I slid closer to him, “it’s me, Abigail.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Erin Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. She was awarded the Bronze Medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers' Favorite international book awards. She also received Honorable Mention for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Writer's Digest self-published e-book awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she resides in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two teenage sons--who are both taller than her--and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he's the family bodyguard.
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