Jaime Samms's Top 5 Fantasy Authors

Thursday December 13, 2018

I have a secret. I’ve written a lot more fantasy books than people know. Only none of them are really any good. Also, they are hundreds of thousands of words long, written on left-over foolscap, the backs of old play scripts and some art history notes. Like, stone-age hard drive! But I wrote them all through high school and college, and got wicked hand cramps from the effort. I also learned a lot about how not to write a fantasy book.

So for this book, this seems like the most obvious of top five topics to pick to talk about, but I think in this case, also the most relevant to talk about with a load of other readers!

Here are my top five fantasy authors who have influenced me and maybe led me to write fantasy stories of my own.

1. And not a surprise, because I talk about this a lot, but J.R.R. Tolkien. (Also Mr. Blackwell, my grade six homeroom teacher who read The Hobbit with the class) The rest of my classmates might not view those idyllic afternoons with the same kind of fondness that I do, but you know what? That’s okay. It’s one of the best grade school memories I have.

2. Tanya Huff. She’s Canadian. She sets stories in cities I know, and I can go to the places where things take place in her books and say this is where the “Adept of the Light” did that thing that time. Also, her heroes and heroines are unique, not always the typical beautiful people, and often queer, so yeah. She’s a bit of a hero of mine.

3. Mercedes Lackey. I know, I know. The queer heroes she first wrote were badly damaged and she was beyond cruel to them. But she gave us all hope that we could write queer heroes and sell our books in an honest-to-goodness real book store some day.

4. Lynn Flewelling. Because, while she was no less cruel to her heroes, she did give them a happy and fulfilling romance, at least. And didn’t make the fact they were the heroes in each others’ love stories the focus of the book, but made them real, rounded and wonderfully flawed humans.

5. Naomi Novik. Specifically, Temeraire. Because what a treat to read a book based on our own history. But with dragons! Also, (brace yourself for the secret, inner life of a writer) in my head, I may totally have turned the actual dragon, Temerair, into a shifter and had him and Will maybe be more than dragon and pilot. Just sayin’.

Your turn. If you had to pick a go-to fantasy author, who would it be? Romance need not be a factor, because fantasy! I mean come on. I was a fantasy reader before I was a romance author. How about you? And go!