Pat Rice here, just back from the Celebrate Romance conference in Kansas City. We had a rowdy good time, and I’ll print pictures once I download them. Really, we need more of these reader/writer conferences where we can all just sit down and talk about books and where they’re going.
But apparently it turned into Dragon Month while I was gone! A plague of dragons creates interesting images in my head, but mostly as a curse of some kind. A plague of dragons be upon you! But otherwise, dragons don’t interest me much more than villains. One kills them and wins the fair maiden, right? Like unicorns, they’re there as metaphors in fairy tales, but it never occurred to me to write about one. (The lovely lady and dragon on your left was colored by our very own Jo
with some software that makes me shiver just thinking about it!)
Admittedly, I wasn’t exposed to many fairy tales when I was little. I have a distinct memory of
deserting my friends to peruse their parents’ library where I’d found a wonderful old fairy tale book. But sadly, those were the only fairy stories I ever saw until I was old enough to buy my own, so maybe I missed out on that fantasy.
Instead, I read fun books like Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet series, so I got
sucked into a warped version of science fiction at an early age. I adore space alien books, and I miss the futuristics of the nineties. Apparently, I’m in the minority.
I went on to lap up all things Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, who is a fantasy writer of the best sort. I branched out into psychic phenomena and von Daniken’s wild theories of long ago visitors from other planets by high school. My aptitude was pretty definitely in the sciences, but I was willing to consider all possibilities.
In other words, unless dragons were dinosaurs, I wasn’t interested. And the Munsters are as close to vampires as I can get, even though there are scientific theories about them, too. Blood, yuck. My mother could never convince me to be a doctor. Weak stomach.
So, unlike Susan/Miranda, I’m quite happy contemplating witches and wizards and space aliens and
even ghosts, because they have some connection to the real world as my open mind sees it. Trolls are fine when Pratchett writes them, and fairies ought to be fey creatures who live in the woods and perform mischievous magic, so they’re in my universe as interesting creatures. But dragons? Sorry, Tolkien’s hoarder was much too obviously metaphorical to hold my interest. So I guess I’ll leave that fantasy to Mary Jo, et al.
Have you ever thought about what books in your childhood affect your current reading tastes now? Heyer fans gobble up Regencies, right? Give us the name of the guilty culprits that led you astray from literary tomes and into the wonderful wacky world of mass market fiction….