Here follows part 2 of 3 of our second interview with JW Whitmarsh author of Enchantress Awakening
NX: Just to recap, you mentioned fan fiction, RPGs and Game of Thrones as examples of how their is an audience for adult fantasy fiction. Let’s take those in turn. How does fan fiction relate?
JW: A lot of fan fiction is based around taking characters from fantasy series which we might term PG or 12A and putting them into more adult situations. Clearly there is an appetite for this. Let’s not forget 50 Shades of Grey started as Fan Fiction based on the Twilight series and that was consumed by how many millions? Moreover, I think writers and fans of Fan Fiction here are picking up on a certain tension within fantasy. We take these beautiful characters and put them into life-threatening and highly emotional and often very violent situations but then fade to black when it comes to them doing the most vital of acts. I don’t see it as surprising that people would want to see that side too.
NX: What’s your take on Fan Fiction in general? Writers often have mixed views.
JW: Mixed views would probably describe my position too. First of all, if you get to the point where people are writing fan fiction based on your books it’s a pretty good seal of approval. As to the the process itself, I’m kind of torn. I would always encourage people to write about what interests them but at the same time I would personally always choose to create my own world and characters as far as possible so I could have full ownership of the story.
NX: How would you feel about people setting fan fiction in your worlds?
JW: I think if you’re going to write inside someone else’s creation you need to respect the boundaries of the canonical material. First of all, you should abide by the lore. If you it says you can’t cast the same spell in succession, you don’t do that. If time travel is stated as impossible, you don’t do that.
Next and just as important is character integrity. I hate seeing adaptation on TV or film even where characters behave in a way that is completely different to how they were written.Then, I think you need to respect the plot too. You shouldn’t try to rewrite the original story into something else.
So given all that, I would define ‘good’ adaptations, spin-offs and fan fiction etc as ones that stay within the spirit of the original. Everything added is something that could have happened but we just didn’t get to see it. So if someone really wants to know what happened to two minor characters we meet along the way and that’s not a story I’m ever going to write then sure write that story if you want.
NX: Ok. I think RPGs were next.
JW: I think RPGs are a great example of how there is an appetite for adult interactions within a genre. You look at Bioware games or something like the Witcher series, they don’t shy away from the fact that the fans who explore those worlds also want to explore the relationships between their characters. People might say ‘aren’t video games for kids?’ but the Dragon Age games are all 18-rated and still sell very well. I’m not saying they sell because of the adult content, as they are great games anyway, but they recognise that romance is something that usually involves coupling at some point.
NX: Favourite Dragon Age characters?
JW: I think I’d have to have Isabela and Varric in there. I love Leliana but I actually like her interactions with the dog the best. The dog brings out the best in a lot of them. Anyway, that’s a terrible party. Can’t have three rogues.
NX: Do you think the characters in Enchantress Awakening fit into the warrior, rogue, mage dynamic?
JW: Haha. I didn’t devise them in that way. I suppose it depends how you define the classes. There’s a fair few warriors, like Penric and Ceol and mages in Caleigh, Gideon and Tovrik etc. Not so sure about rogues. Maybe Ellie.
(Interview continues with reflections on Game of Thrones and other fantasy series) >>>