Nothing compares to what I feel when I am in front of a blank page. Or maybe yes, there is something much better. What I feel when someone thanks me or expresses what he or she feels through my writings. Before launching my fantasy novel at the recent International Book Fair of Bogotá (FILBO) 2017, I never came to imagine the reactions of the people who acquired my novel. Something curious was that many asked me, even the press, why fantasy is important? Why YA literature? I had vague answers at the moment, but now I want to respond calmly and in the best way I can, in writing.
I believe in magic. I am talking about that special thing that every human being has within and that makes each of us able to contribute something, however small, to transform the world. We all have that magic, it’s called talent. Mine is to write.
I knew it since I was very young. I also knew that my writings had an effect, at least on the few people who read what I wrote. That effect was essential for me because in addition to encouraging me, it made me think about what had an effect on me. And nothing was comparable to what fantastic literature provoked and continues to provoke in my life, especially when I was a little girl and a teenager.
The fantasy genre gives freedom to those who experience it, both who writes it and who reads it, to go beyond limits and convictions imposed. That is why it is a very attractive door for a young, rebellious mind, wanting to experience new things. I said it in one of the interviews, YA literature is perhaps the most honest, because of its language and its themes, and because it moves away from the cynicism and conflicts of adulthood. For a young person who is until now forming an identity, it’s a creative way to get introduced to heroes and heroines who are questioning the same thing, allowing them to identify themselves outside of their reality that sometimes can be conflictive, and to transmit positive messages trough them. The best example of this is J.K. Rowling, who managed to have children and youth in awe and crowding the bookstores to buy each chapter of the saga. Harry Potter story has all the elements of success in the genre and is an example to follow.
Fantasy allows us to visualize the human race within other contexts and even create other races around it, and thus have another way of interpreting human behavior. If we analyze the humans of Middle-earth for example, at the end of history we understand that they are the central axis, who are ultimately responsible for making the earth prosperous by overcoming the power struggles and destructive instincts characteristic of our human behavior. If we see the kingdoms in Game of Thrones and their similarities with our civilizations, they serve as an escape and a mirror, understanding that humanity and its raw conflicts tend to repeat and reproduce, but there are also characters who restore faith in that humanity that can be corrupt and belligerent.
Fantasy changes over time. For you to understand me a little bit more, I invite you to read The Little Prince or The NeverEnding Story. Most likely they are books you read many years ago. But reading them now, will make you realize that despite holding the same message, the meaning of their themes changes and adapts to the reader’s age in an incredible way. It’s like becoming a child again while keeping the property of being an adult with all its characteristics. Traveling in time … isn’t it fascinating?
Feeding creativity and the ability to dream will always be the elements of admiration in the genre. Just think what can be done if we let the imagination take us on a journey. A fantasy book is a portal without limits. That’s why I love fantasy so much, and I write it because I can. And if in the process I can make others dream and be inspired, then why not?
Tell me, do you like fantastic literature? What has been your best experience with genre?