Today I’d like to welcome Yvonne Hertzberger as my guest blogger. Yvonne, like me, came to the writing life in a “more mature stage” of life. Here she talks about how she launched her writing career with fantasy:
Over the last several years, since beginning to write Epic Fantasy I have had a lot of time to think about what to say when the inevitable question comes up. “Why did you decide to write Fantasy?” The first thought that always comes to mind is that Epic Fantasy is my favorite genre to read for pleasure. They say write what you know and because that is what I read it is what I know best.
But that answer is too simplistic. It starts with why, so many years ago (over 35 – yikes!) I was drawn to reading Fantasy in the first place. It helped that I discovered an author whose world I became enthralled with from the first book in her long series (Marion Zimmer-Bradley’s Darkover novels). In a world that never existed she created characters that did things no real people in our world could do. Yet these characters were so human in their hopes, their relationships and their motivations that they were as believable to me as any in a real world novel. They just found new and inventive ways to deal with their situations.
I have always preferred fiction to non-fiction. The real world was, for me, a harsh place with little to recommend it in the way of kindness or support. In fiction, and especially in Fantasy, I could escape out of this reality into relationships that had solutions. In Fantasy there are always at least some good guys, some with nobility and honor. And no matter how difficult life was the protagonist eventually triumphed, resolving their tests in a satisfactory way. And they always did this through their own efforts as well as the support of others who shared their beliefs and values. While reading I could escape from the problems that had no solutions to a place where I could imagine myself doing what I could not in real life. And because I came to love those worlds and the characters in them I always chose series rather than stand alone novels. (hence the designation ‘epic’) The characters and places became friends I did not want to leave behind.
As a writer I took what I loved to read and imported that into my own work. I took my time about it, however, and did not begin writing seriously until I was 56. (Hence the label I give myself – late bloomer). Writing was, and is, a cathartic experience for me. This was especially true in my first book (Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth’s Pendulum). I knew from the first chapters that this would become a trilogy. In the world I created characters introduced themselves to me who seem as real as you and I. They were people who faced a number of problems; war, trauma, politics, heartbreak, and loss. But by following their journeys I could allow them to solve those problems in ways that would not work here, in the real world. I created strong women, who managed to have influence and garner respect, and yes, love, in spite of conventions that in our world would have held them back. I created a traitor who had redeeming qualities, a spy and assassin who overcame horrific abuses to become a noble man, a prostitute who chose that profession to avoid becoming the chattel of a man, who maintains her dignity and control of her life.
Much more of course, but you get the picture. The neat outcome of this process is that it has allowed me to find new belief in myself and appreciate the good of people in THIS world. And the positive responses to my writing have done wonders for my belief in my own power to manage my own problems. Even more, I have now reached a place in my life where I value the contributions I am able to make and to accept that I have value even though I am far from perfect. And that gives me the courage to ask for help when I need it, having faith that it is there for me. It gives me courage to try the things I need to learn that still terrify me, like the technical aspects of self-publishing my second book “Through Kestrel’s Eyes” the sequel to “Back From Chaos, to be released soon. And that satisfaction now allows me to be grateful for all the help I have had along the way. Life is good.
Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is married with two grown children, (one married) and resides quietly in Stratford, Ontario with her spouse, Mark in a 130 year old, tiny, brick cottage, where she plans to live out her retirement. She calls herself a Jill-of-all-trades and a late bloomer. Her many past paid jobs included banking, day care, residential care for challenged children, hairdressing (her favorite) retail, and customer service. She enjoys gardening,
singing, the theatre, decorating and socializing with friends and family.
Hertzberger is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, first with a B.A. in psychology, then and Hon. B.A. Sociology and stopped ½ a thesis short of an M.A. in Sociology. She has always been an avid student of human behavior. This is what gives her the insights she uses to develop the characters in her writing.
Hertzberger came to writing late in life, hence the label ‘late bloomer’. Her first Fantasy novel “Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth’s Pendulum” was published in 2009. The
second volume in the planned trilogy “Through Kestrel’s Eyes” will be available in the fall of 2011.
Author page: http://www.facebook.com/EarthsPendulum.YvonneHertzberger.author