By Rachel Rossano
I am a bit of a non-conformist, a rebel. Yeah, I know I don’t look like it. Happily married mother of three children, homemaker, author, and a pastor’s kid. Okay, the last one does flag me as highly likely to be a rebel according to some people. But honestly, I didn’t have the classic rebellious years in my teens. I married (with my parents blessing) and settled down before twenty.
So, why claim the title non-conformist?
I write what I want to write.
I have been fascinated with history since childhood and the medieval time period for just about as long. Fairy tales always topped my reading pile in my youngest years. I devoured every one of Andrew Lang’s fairy tale books at my local library. Henry VIII and his children fascinated me through my teens. I still have decent collection of reference books about him and that period of English history. But, when it came down to writing a story, I quickly decided that all the research that would be involved in writing straight historical fiction did not appeal.
Conventional wisdom dictates that writers should write to the market. Research what genre they want to write, write within the formulas dictated by the published market, and follow all the rules. I tried. It didn’t work out very well. The stories were downright boring.
Deciding on trying a different route, I settled on creating my own world. Countries, governments, kings, queens, histories, the world grew over the years, each story making it richer. With each new story, I add to the world, cultures, and characters. Sometimes, I create a totally new country just to try out a new story idea.
Romance has become a common theme through all of my books because I am interested in romantic love. Not the flowers and roses type of love, but the connection that begets loyalty, faithfulness, and sacrifice. The point where the two decide to become one entity and the choice to love despite circumstances, difficulties, miscommunications, and loss fascinates me. A Christ-like love is what marriage is supposed to be about.
So, I write fantasy because I like creating my own worlds. My books have a medieval feel because I love writing about an age of nobility, horses, swords, chivalry, castles, and…you get the idea. Almost every one of my stories is also a romance because I am fascinated by what draws and keeps two people together and committed to each other on such a deep level.
You might not think I am much of a rebel. But in the writing world, breaking the boundaries of genre is a bit of a no-no. Every time I have to describe what I write to a new reader, I am reminded why it is hard to break out of the genre framework. Instead of saying “I write non-magical fantasy sweet romance with a medieval feel,” I am tempted to hand them one of my books and say, “Here. Read it. I think you will like it.”