Monday, November 05, 2007

History vs Fantasy

My daughter has a degree in English and Medieval History. Her mother writes historical romance novels. Wanna know what she likes to read?

Fantasy, or as we call them around here, "Shadow of the Wolf of the Moon" books. Because really, it seems like wolves and shadows and the moon feature in just about every title. Kind of like Bride, Desire, Rogue, etc. in historical romance titles.

Anyhoodle, I finally asked her why she likes those books, especially the pseudo-medieval ones, but doesn't read historical romances or historical novels.

Here answer was, basically, because she doesn't know what's going to happen in the fantasy books.

That's her main problem with historical novels especially -- she knows what, historically, has to happen and so will happen.

With historical romances, there are also certain givens (the hero and heroine will survive, for instance) that take away from the surprise factor.

I'm wondering how many potential or former historical romance readers have wandered over to fantasy because they want a more unpredictable read.


Christine d'Abo said...

I know that's why I read futuristic romances. I love the mystery of what the author is going to do in their world. Don't get me wrong though, I can't give up my historical!

Margaret Moore said...

My daughter really enjoys the "palace intrigue" aspect of the fantasies, too -- and if you know how it all turned out (i.e. in a historical novel), that kinda takes the suspense out of the intrigue.

Kimber Chin said...

As I tend not to read about real historical figures, history is a backdrop for me. It can be predictable because the main fictional characters are not.

And really I read romances BECAUSE I can count on the happy ending. It is like falling but knowing that right before you hit the ground, someone will be there to catch you. Or like a rollercoaster. Odds are you will survive the ride but you just never know...

Leah Braemel said...

This is interesting, Margaret. I started out writing those medieval-style fantasies and decided earlier this year that I should go straight historical. Except I found it really restricting and was completely unhappy. So I'm back to writing fantasies. I just love twisting things and taking legends from history and playing 'what if'. Maybe I just find 'real life' too dull? I have no idea. I just like all those possibilities.

BUT I still love reading all the regular historicals written by a certain someone, along with Jo Beverly and Stephanie Laurens, etc. And fantasies - medieval or contemporary (does your daughter read Patricia Briggs?) And contemporary mysteries - Nevada Barr, Robert Parker, Jacqueline Winspear. I guess I've got eclectic tastes.