Let's Talk Magical Realism

I tell people it's a fantasy novel when they ask because I find the literary genre "magical realism" throws people off. And frankly, if I don't have to go too deep into explaining nuances of "The Book," I find that best.

I mean, it's not that I don't want to share with people. It's that I begin to feel self-conscious when I do. Am I making sense? Am I talking them into a coma? Are their ears about to decay off their heads? 

Well, let's just hunker down for a minute and I'll try to (briefly) explain what I mean by magical realism.

The best way for me to do this is via maps. Now, I've spent a LOT of time this past year creating maps. Since my novel takes place in a made-up world, getting my bearings for the book meant literally getting my bearings. Where is this sh*t going down? What kind of people live there? What kind of religions, languages, measuring systems, cultural practices, etc. etc. exist?

You can see how things might get complicated real fast. 

But this is where magical realism comes to save the ship from sinking before we even leave the port. When you read my book, I want you to get lost with the characters, as in fully immersed. I don't want you to spend hours lost. Period. 

And as this book is an exploration of themes particular to us earthlings, I thought there was no better model for the planet my book takes place in than our own. 

Appropriation of reality for fiction is completely revolutionary...said no one ever. In modern fantasy we see how our world influences the author: take George R.R. Martin's Westeros, where historic Europe is pretty much regurgitated, (to everyone's delight, of course).

That's essentially what I find happening in my book. I don't feel the call to invent new cultural systems when our planet offers an array as diverse as species. I frankly don't have the knowledge to invent my own languages a lรก Tolkein. I have created maps upon maps of this new world--but don't let me mislead you.

You will feel at home in my novel's world. You will plod along, thinking you are in reality--until a slip of fantasy, a streak of magic, will remind you that you are not. But that's a sneak peek for another day.