Last week, someone asked me what led me to fantasy. I’ve written science fiction, thrillers, horror, poetry (God spare us from young poets), theology, and heartfelt rants, but fantasy was my first love, and it’s the genre I keep returning to. But I had to really think about how I got my start.
Honestly, it was knights. I had a very young fascination with knights, and castles, and the kinds of stories that surrounded them. There was nothing fantastic about it. I read pretty much every version of the Arthur legend I could lay my hands on, along with detailed accounts of life in castles, medieval warfare, and so forth. I was heartbroken that my family didn’t have its own heraldry (Akers is a place name, about as historic as Smith or Wright) and set about making up my own heraldry. Raised Presbyterian in the mountains of North Carolina, I had a natural love of all things Scottish, and attended a lot of Highland Games in my youth.
Of course, the middle ages had a lot of horror, but I didn’t notice. I wanted to be a knight in armor. I wanted the glory of the charge, banners streaming, a castle at my back. That was never going to happen, of course, but I could dream.
The move into fantasy was natural. Someone handed me Tolkien, and I was off. While my imagination has strayed far from those knightly dreams (my Veridon stories are evidence enough of that) I still find myself returning to them. I think that explains more about The Hallowed War series than anything else.