In novels, how much realism is too much? Do people read to escape, to learn something, or to feel something? I’ve learned over the years that it’s all three. Some people read to escape and don’t care about historical accuracy. More than that, however, my readers do, in fact, read to escape AND to learn something. As an author, I’d better have my historical facts straight and I have to be very careful on how much liberty I take in ‘re-writing’ history. In fact, I really don’t. History is established and I don’t change anything. My readers are very well-read and smart; they’ll call me out on it!
A few things, however, that I will take liberties with – fictional castles. Fictional families. Fictional battles. That’s really about it. Everything else is real and I do my best to heavily research whatever I’m writing about so I know how much liberty to take – or not to take.
Now, here’s another question – the reality of Medieval life was bleak. There were deaths in childbirth, disease, gross bodily mishaps, brutal warlords, etc. In “The Dark Lord”, Jax de Velt put men on spikes as both threat and promise. He was trying to build the most brutal reputation possible, and he did. He killed men, women, and children. Brutal? Absolutely. It was the way of the lawless world back then. Is it too much? I didn’t think so. It was reality. But this brutal man changed when he fell in love. It broadened his horizons and made him understand that life is precious. That was the message of the novel. People either loved it or hated it. Reviews ran the gauntlet of excellent, good, fair, bad, and back again. I loved that the novel brought about so much emotion. If I had it to write The Dark Lord all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I will always write novels that are real, gritty, sometimes off-kilter, controversial, sweet, loving, romantic, and passionate. There is sex but it is not erotica. I don’t believe in erotica – not that I’m against it because it’s totally fine for other authors, but not for me. I’m a story-line gal. Take the sex out of any of my novels and the story stands alone, strong and proud. My characters don’t need sex to have a great relationship.
What’s on the horizon for me as far as stories go? Lots of out-of-the-box things – an undead knight, a gay knight, and other things you will not have read about previously. As with all of my books, keep an open mind. If you don’t want to read about a gay knight or an undead knight, then please don’t buy the book. I will be very clear what the novel is about so there is no guessing. I always have to shake my head at people who buy a book that clearly states its very long, or full of gore, and then write a review stating the book was too long or too full of gore…. huh?…. well, that’s okay, too, I guess. I welcome all opinions and I love reading them. As I’ve stated so many times, I love ALL of my readers, whether or not they love me. I’m just grateful they gave me a try.
So the thought for the day: in my world, if it’s a contest between reality and fluff, reality wins every time. It was a real world in Medieval Times, and I like to tell you about it.