I graduated with a degree in history and political science. I worked as a corporate paralegal in both Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. I wasn’t a writer.
Honestly, the question never crossed my mind.
At least not until the fall of 2011. In October, Sharon Kay Penman published her eleventh novel, Lionheart. Thanks to the convenience of social media and the popularity of the emerging giant Facebook, Sharon and I began to interact. As a result of a long-winded review of her book, Sharon uttered the fateful words, “Have you ever thought about writing?” It was then I took up pen and paper and began scrawling. In 2015, I published my first novel, The Scribe’s Daughter, followed by The King’s Daughter, and The King’s Furies. Hauntings: An Anthology was published in 2021.
So you write historical fiction, right? Not exactly, no. The Crowns of Destiny series is categorized for sale as fantasy. But while I do categorize my novels as fantasy, my work draws inspiration first and primarily from history and historical fiction. My Crowns of Destiny series plays out more like book of historical fiction. The setting is heavily inspired by medieval Europe. There are no fantastical elements modern readers might recognize, but that doesn’t mean the books aren’t fantasy. They are 100% fictional. Like traditional myths and legends of old, I write settings that could be in our world (or very much like our own world), but just exist in some unknown place. If I’d been writing before the age of exploration, this could easily be true. And at the same time, entirely fantastical!
And yet, unlike traditional myths and legends, the rules, geography, history of my world is defined, though all the rules are not described outright. Much of it will feel familiar to those who read historical fiction, harkening back to its true root in historical fiction. Authentic settings and technology, medicine, and ways of life match those from history books. Put another way, the books have a historic setting but without restraints of real world’s history and geography.
So where do my books fit in?
They really don’t fit anywhere, to be honest. Square peg. Round hole. There just isn’t really anything else like them (and believe me, I’ve looked!). So I had to categorize them for sale the best I could, even if there was no perfect fit. Until we invent a new genre or subgenre, they’ll stay in fantasy.