Great Fantasy Travelling Round Table Guest Blog #5 — Borders of Fantasy

Welcome to the Great Fantasy Travelling Round Table

Our topic this month is The Borderlands. Where are the boundaries of the fantasy genre? When does it become something else, like mystery or literary fiction or magical realism? What are the borders between fantasy and reality, or is reality just plain magical?

I talk about discovering what I really write. Deborah J. Ross discusses crossover novels. This month also includes a discussion of one of my former writing professors, Fred Chappell, writer of poetry and literary fiction from Warren Rochelle. Carole McDonnell declares writers of magical realism should believe in magic—except even people who believe in magic don’t believe in the same kind of magic. Sylvia Kelso ends with a series of great quotes and discussion of the problems of classifying genre, plus an excerpt from a #wip.

Theresa Crater – How I became a Mystery Writer

My first novel had just been published and OMG was I excited. I drove to the closest bookstore to see it on the shelves. I’d been practicing my visualization beforehand. You know, going to the shelf and placing your finger between the two books yours would be shelved with. So I head over to the fantasy section, go to C—look for Crater. It’s not there. I go to the bookstore computer, check for my title – to find it in the mystery section.

What, mystery? I go over there. It’s on the shelf right beneath Dan Brown, who’d just come out with The Da Vinci Code. I thought, “Sweet!” as my students say. “It’s really fantasy, but this works.”

I’ve since discovered that it really is a mystery. I threw in the towel and changed the banners on my websites from fantasy to mystery. Even after my bad guy turned out to be a supernatural being. Is the second one in the series fantasy because of that? But what’s the difference between fantasy and mystery?

Where it’s shelved in the store, mostly.

Bookstores sort of invented fiction subgenres to handle customer flow. The figured out people read types of books fairly reliably, so instead of shelving them all alphabetically, it helped readers know where they westerns were so they wouldn’t brush shoulders with the literary fiction readers. Well, not really, but if a reader can browse the types of books they like all together in one section, they’re likely to buy more.

Mysteries are plot driven. Clues, miscues and then a final discovery. They don’t usually include elements of the fantastic. Except lately. With the upsurge in fantasy books and films, the fantastic is creeping out of its ghetto and invading even the high-brow literary world.

Where does that leave writers who create a story that has a strong mystery – but don’t all stories have an element of mystery to them, like what’s going to happen – with elements of the fantastic, like ancient temples, visions, and Egyptian goddesses (called Neters, my Egyptologist partner is going to say to me). Lots of folks write between the borders of genres. That’s how we get paranormal romance or alternative history.

“Know your genre,” screenwriter and teacher Robert McKee admonishes. “Know the conventions of your genre.” One of the first rules of writing. My critique groups asks, “But what genre is it?” about my latest. It’s important because I need to know who to approach to publish it and how to market it. I tell them it’s a mystery and they look skeptical. Why? It has visions in it. Paranormal stuff.

“Does anybody else write like this?” they ask. I start reeling off a list of writers, then realize they all write thrillers. Mine’s not fast enough to be a thriller. Can you write a cozy thriller? I don’t think so. Depression descends. Wait, it’s a paranormal cozy mystery. Yes, that’s a real subgenre.

Geez, isn’t this a little nuts? Is it a good story that’s well written? Will readers buy it? Why all the hoopla?

Like I said, bookstores.

But wait. The publishing industry just reported that more eBooks were 31 percent of the market 2011. Close to $2 billion (yeah, billion).

What’s that got to do with genre? Shelving. EBooks don’t get shelved. The computer analyzes what you buy and suggests similar books, not just based on genre, but other tag words as well.

Bob Dylan said it best. “Oh the times they are a’changin’.”

Theresa Crater has published two paranormal mysteries, Under the Stone Paw and Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Under her pen name Louise Ryder, she’s published GLBT and metaphysical fiction, God in a Box. Her recent short fiction includes “White Moon” in Ride the Moon and “Bringing the Waters” in Aether Age:  Helios. She’s published a baker’s dozen of literary criticism and one lone poem. http://theresacrater.com

Deborah J. Ross – The Borderlands of Fantasy

To begin with, fantasy itself comprises a borderland. Sometimes it’s between waking and sleep, or sleep and dreams, or our wildest wishes and our most stoic resignation. Good fantasy includes elements of magic or the supernatural as part of its essential world-building. This implies a world that bears some resemblance to our own, whether it involves human beings and our cultures, familiar animals (horses, wolves, cats), spoken languages, medicine or music, cities or villages, histories, or the principles of warfare. Fantasy often includes adventure and romantic elements (with or without Romance), and much of it is set in a lower-technology culture than our own, giving it the sensibilities of historical fiction. (I once found Katherine Kurtz’s “Deryni” books shelved with Historical Fiction in the public library.)

Crossover genre fiction blends elements from more than one established, otherwise clearly-defined genre. Often this involves grafting elements of one type of fiction onto another: a detective solves a mystery in the Wild West; elves and unicorns play out their drama in Central Park; characters find true love on a space ship. One of the most interesting aspects of these blendings is that rarely is the reader in doubt as to which is the root genre and which is the graft. Paranormal Romance does not read like fantasy with a love story; much military science fiction is military fiction that happens to be set in space, with alien rather than human adversaries. This is not, of course, a hard and fast rule, but it does explain why certain crossovers appeal to certain readers: the heart of the story, its driving energy, remains the love story or the heroic quest or the solving of a mystery.

Many readers adore crossovers, me among them. Part of the fun is “having your cake and eating it, too.” Wouldn’t it be grand to take the cool bits from each of the genres you love and mash them all together in one book? Such an exercise must be approached with care, lest the result be a mish-mosh without center or structure. What makes one type of fiction work may be antithetical to the ground rules of another. The defining reading experience of a police procedural, for example, does not readily share equal emphasis with that of an epic fantasy. The scales, the stakes, and the focus are different, and rarely is it possible to maintain both sets of expectations in a way that one does not dominate and that results in a satisfying read.

In the example I gave earlier, the core of a paranormal romance is the establishment and escalation of romantic and sexual tension between two characters; they may go on adventures and have to wrestle with supernatural forces or destroy magical gadgets, but the central question is the resolution of their mutual attraction; the plot structure, like that of other Romances, often involves misunderstandings or some other obstacles to their relationship. In contrast, a story like Kate Elliott’s marvelous “Spiritwalker” series includes a love story, but in no way is that the primary interest of the heroine and hero. In Jennifer Roberson’s “Sword Dancer” books, the attraction between Tiger and Del is ever-present, but it is only one aspect of their complex relationship, and each must pursue his or her separate goals as well. I mention these two because although solidly within the fantasy genre, they also appeal strongly to Romance readers without being Romance.

Recently we’ve seen a series of novels that take an established time period, set of historical events, or style of novel, and introduce magical elements. I am thinking of books like Naomi Novik’s “Temeraire” series (Napoleonic Wars with dragons), Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamour In Glass (Jane Austen with magic), or Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (a very different take on Jane Austen with magic). Much of “alternate history” could be said to be history-with-a-twist, whether it is time travel, science fiction, some frankly fantastical element, or simply history going in a different direction (Harry Turtledove’s Ruled Brittania, in which the Spanish Armada did not sink but went on to conquer England).

Lastly, I wonder if the appeal of crossover stories to the community of fantasy readers reflects a broader phenomenon, which is that these readers tend to venture outside the genre. I think we’re more likely to find fantasy lovers who also read mystery, for example, than we are to find mystery readers who seek out fantasy. If my speculation is correct, we are likely to see the crossover phenomenon continue (for which I offer many cheers), but within the context of fantasy and science fiction, rather than any other genre.

Deborah J Ross began writing professionally in 1982 as Deborah Wheeler with JAYDIUM and NORTHLIGHT, and short stories in ASIMOV’S, F & SF, REALMS OF FANTASY and STAR WARS: TALES FROM JABBA’S PALACE. Now under her birth name, Ross, she is continuing the” Darkover” series of the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, as well as original work, including the fantasy trilogy THE SEVEN-PETALED SHIELD. She is a member of Book View Cafe. She has lived in France, worked for a cardiologist, studied Hebrew, yoga and kung fu, and is active in the local Jewish and Quaker communities. http://deborahjross.blogspot.com

Warren Rochelle – The Borderlands of Fantasy: Between Here and There

The fiction of Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, and the author of numerous books of poetry and fiction (and one of my grad school mentors) is inspired by and draws upon, often extensively, his boyhood in the mountains of western North Carolina and the folklore and tall tales of the region. Back in 2004 I wrote an essay on Chappell’s semiautobiographical four-book cycle, “The Flashing Phantasmagoria of Rational Life: The Platonic Borderlands of Fred Chappell’s Forever Tetralogy.” In the Forever or Kirkman Tetralogy, which begins with I am One of You Forever (LSU Press, 1985), Chappell presents a fantastic world “in which a man’s beard, freed from restraints, fills a house to overflowing,” and “a boy is taken by his mother to see the Wind Woman, the keeper of sounds of the hills . . . Ghosts are a present and troublesome part of reality” (“Flashing,” More Lights Than One 186). Alongside the fantastic is the mundane: people falling in love, practical jokes, family tragedy. As Fred explained to me in an interview, “‘the exaggerated and the mundane’ coexist, they ‘shake hands and [are] friends’’ (186).

Or, in other words, “the rational and irrational are not separate.” The world of Fred’s fiction operates in the borderlands between the fantastic and the mundane, borderlands have echoes in Plato’s philosophy. Yes, Plato does condemn poets for using their imagination in Book X of the Republic and advocates their expulsion, but his philosophy wasn’t static: it grew and changed organically over time. Throughout his philosophical discussions, he uses allegory and myth to express ultimate truths. The Phaedrus, the Myth of the Charioteer, with the soul being drawn by both the white and the black horse, the rational and the irrational, clearly demonstrates that that both are needed; both are essential.

It is here, in these borderlands between the fantastic and the mundane, the rational and the irrational, that I find myself as a writer. My first novel, The Wild Boy (which happens to be science fiction) is set in the ruins of 22nd-century Greensboro, NC, after the human race has been domesticated by ursinoid aliens. Fantastical, of course, but I was living in Greensboro while writing the story, and I deliberately grounded the plot in the real Greensboro. My characters walked down real streets; they prowled in what had been real steam tunnels beneath the UNCG campus, based on maps I had obtained from the campus police, and my own subterranean explorations. My next two novels, Harvest of Changelings, and its sequel, The Called, are deeply rooted in the Triangle region of central North Carolina where I grew up. My heroes—public school children—are chased by monsters down the lanes of I-40; they take sanctuary in the church in which I grew up; they attend the public school where I worked as a librarian. The dad of one hero is a public school librarian. I also draw liberally from Celtic myth and from the indigenous stories of the Cherokee of western North Carolina. And there are fairies, werewolves, black and white witches, and dragons and centaurs. My current novel-in-progress, The Werewolf and His Boy, is set in Richmond and Fredericksburg, Virginia—and I live in Fredericksburg and spend an inordinate time in Richmond.

All right, the question, then is why—although I have given some of my answer already in my discussion of my essay on Chappell’s fiction, but let me elaborate. As Ursula K. Le Guin has said, the fantastic reveals truth—through myth, through metaphor and allusion, through story. All fairy tales are true. Tim O’Brien makes the argument in The Things They Carry that there is story-truth and happening-truth, and the first is often used to fully explain and make sense of the second. I discuss in my essay on Chappell his argument in his essay, “Fantasia on the Theme of Theme and Fantasy,” that “fantasy shines a light on the ‘normal side of things’—because of it, we can see more clearly the world as it is . . . That our reality is, in addition to perceived phenomena, one of metaphor, is essential to our understanding of ourselves.”  Like Plato, like Chappell, like Le Guin—and, I would venture to guess, many other writers of the fantastic—I believe to be fully human, we need the rational and the irrational.

According to Martha Nussbaum, in her introduction to The Bacchae, there are “two universal tendencies or propensities in human life, the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The former is the ‘tendency to move and act in accordance with irrational focuses,’ and the latter, ‘to approach the world with cool reason, carving it up and making clear distinctions . . . [A] full human life needs fluidity between the Dionysian and the Apollonian.” As it is, too often, according to Thomas Moore in The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, we try to ignore the Dionysian, the fantastic; rather, “we need to recognize our need to live in a world of both fact and imagination” (201).

We dream, we are awake. We live in a natural world; we live in the supernatural. Magic is real; science is true. This is where we live, in the borderlands, between here and there, and it is in fantasy that we can explore our homeland.

Warren Rochelle has taught English at the University of Mary Washington since 2000. His short story “The Golden boy” (published in The Silver Gryphon) was a Finalist for the 2004 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Short Story and his novels include The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010). He also published a critical work on Le Guin and has academic articles in various journals and essay collections. http://warrenrochelle.com

Carole McDonnell – Magical Realism and Magic

For me, there is nothing more annoying than someone who writes magical realism and who doesn’t believe in magic. I got introduced to magical realism and natural supernaturalism in college when I read Latin American fiction.  The Latin American form of magical realism is not merely evocative metaphor (although it often is only that). But it is combined with a desire to honor the folklore old grannies  and uncles told to children on their knees. For authors such as Julio Cortazar, Borges or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there is a healthy respect for the underlying magical mystery of everyday life, the honoring of a culture’s oral storytelling, and a desire to sacramentalize (in the Roman Catholic sense) the world by showing Life and Mystery embodied in the predictable routines of life. For me, true Magical Realism is full of mystery and questions about the nature of life.

Of course there have been authors such as Henry James in “The Turn of the Screw” who combined both so every once in a while there are movies such as “Take Shelter” or books that play with the principle of uncertainty. “Is this character cracking or is the world not as closed and rational as we think?”   But I suspect James actually was writing a ghost story. If he did not believe in ghosts, he set his unbelief aside and created a story that is both psychological and metaphysical thriller. For many American writers, however, magical realism is simply a way to use metaphor to show the internal workings of the mind. Thus there is a distinct borderland between magical realism that looks outside of man’s mind towards the unknown universe, and magical realism that shows the psychological complexities of the unknown human mind.

I suppose it’s a combination of growing up in a Bible-believing church and growing up in Jamaica. Whether it’s a testimony of a healing in a church service or a ghost story on SyFy, Discovery, or Biography Channel, or someone seeing Sasquatch or some other cryptozoic creature, I take my supernatural stories at face value.

I once had the pleasure of listening to my friend, Sharon McGuire, relating an evening where her friends were telling each other about the supernatural events that had happened to them. The Haitian girl believed in shapeshifters because she had seen them but utterly disbelieved in vampires and considered them silly. On the contrary, the Romanian girl believed people could turn into wolves because she had seen them but thought the Haitian girl’s anecdote was ridiculous. I love stories like that.

I recently heard that the writer Victoria Laurie writes ghost stories because she had a ghost encounter when she was in high school. I like stories that open up the world. As Einstein said, “the mysterious is the most beautiful thing in art and science.” As Shakespeare wrote, “there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of in your {rationalistic} philosophy.

So, with my love of the supernatural, I tend to dislike when a writer is simply using the surreal to describe emotions or aspects of a closed universe…and I generally will go along. After all, the surreal is useful for explaining life in all its aspects. But I would rather a dream in a story have supernatural resonances than be the outworkings of worried synapses or the result of an underdone potato. I would rather have Scrooge be visited by three spirits and be acted upon by supernatural agencies in the world that are beyond his ken, than chock up the night to repressed guilt or buried memories. That’s just me.

True, we have yet to see a mermaid pop up in the Hudson River, but if a writer depicts such an event, I want to believe the writer actually believes seductive sirens/succubi actually exist — and isn’t using fish-tailed sea denizens as a symbol of heaven knows what.

One of my favorite Bible verses is “Lord, rend the heavens and come down.” And I love St John’s Apocalypse. Why? Because they promise a time when life –in all its magic and strangeness– will be seen for what it is; they promise an unveiling. For me, magical realism and natural/supernaturalism are subtle reminders that human minds don’t really know what the world is made of.

Carole McDonnell is a writer of ethnic fiction, speculative fiction, and Christian fiction. Her works have appeared in many anthologies and at various online sites. Her novel, Wind Follower, was published by Wildeside Books. Her forthcoming novel is called The Constant Tower. http://carolemcdonnel.blogspot.com

Sylvia Kelso – Fantasy: Borders and Crossovers

Since we’re all writers, we can all talk about the publishing side of borders and crossovers, but a couple of us are also academics (just as well only a couple). So I’ll start with some well-worn theoretical dicta about genres and borders.

Quote 1, Roland Barthes’ famous dictum from  “The Death of the Author,” that “The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.” Hence no single novel, whatever, can be purely “original.”

Second, the parallel claim of a Russian structuralist (whose name I have lost) that all genres begin as cadet branches from another genre – therefore, except for some legendary Big Bang single ancestor, all will have elements of another.

Quote 2, Jacques Derrida’s sweeping, “Every text participates in one or several genres … yet such participation never amounts to belonging,” and hence, to demand purity of any genre is “a madness” (“Genre” 212; 228).

Practically, it’s impossible to work without labeling and categorizing texts of any sort. Damon Knight’s despairing, “SF is what I say when I point to it,” only throws the burden of labelling back on the pointer’s experience of texts he/she understands to be SF, and that was decided by someone else’s understanding of … Indeed, Samuel Delany, always an alternate thinker, argues that “The generic mark … is always outside the text,” for example on the bookstore shelf (“Gestation” 65). Amazon’s “Readers who bought this also bought,” is a very fluid and highly practical bookseller’s way of managing this, geared toward another sale, of course.

Genre borders, are most likely then, a matter of general but implicit consensus. Brian Attebery devised a very neat method to demonstrate this. Back in the days when “Fantasy” meant high fantasy, he sent some readers a list of novels and asked for a rating, 1-10, on the nearest to “real fantasy” (I paraphrase slightly here.) Satisfyingly, the centre or highest score of his “fuzzy set,” came back as The Lord of the Rings.

Publishers and smart authors play into this implicit consensus with the choice of cover and even the font.  Genre borders are also policed, again implicitly, by readers and academics both. Long and fierce have been the academic squabbles over Star Wars as either fantasy or SF, or even “film SF,” as one academic editor insisted.  Readers, too, can dispute a text generic siting, and/or vote on the matter. Samuel Delany’s Dahlgren, one of the most astonishing experimental novels in any genre, was published as SF, and was a resounding flop. Readers voted with their wallets in (relative) droves.

At present the bewildered publishing world is confronted with genre borders more permeable than water. When Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling Outlander series first appeared, nobody knew where to classify it. Historical fiction? No, it had time travel. Fantasy? Well, um, not exactly a secondary world, historical detail far too heavy. SF? Nup, the science was hand-waving at best. There were mutters of “time romance” from those who had met the term in other minor specific, but those examples never escaped the esoteric ghetto.

Gabaldon, au contraire, is now shelved in the “best-sellers” genre, defined by one agent’s web-site as lacking any marker except sales. But with Gabaldon’s sales, novels like this are suddenly big-time. My own Blackston Gold duo, tentatively marketed as “contemporary fantasy” got snapped up by a nameable agent on a friend’s mere whisper of “Gabaldon.”

Then there’s “paranormal romance” – a meld of horror and “romance” in the usual generic sense of the word. Came out of nowhere and is flourishing like the green   baytree.  For how long, who knows? Mutters of No Vampire are appearing daily in specific indie presses’ Call for Subs. On the other hand, there’s Twilight, and now Fifty Shades of Grey … While there’s money, publishers won’t let the Fanged Ones leave.

There’s little new to say about this seething cauldron, present or future. Let me finish with a crossover, a form not discussed theoretically, but practiced in earnest by Hollywoodin movies of the Godzilla –Meets-Tarzan type. I’ve noticed a tendency in thrifty authors to do this by combine characters from two different series, for instance, Dana Stabenow’s latest, Though Not Dead.  But the best crossovers happen in current fanfic.  Here’s a third-gen descendant of Bridget Jones’s Diary, combining two cinematic hot-sites in a single exuberant text.

 

FIC: The Very Secret Diary of Captain Jack Sparrow (PG13, 1/1 if you’re lucky)
AUTHOR: Gloria Mundi , Poor Napoleon and Ladymoonray.
PAIRING: Errrr. None, really.

Day 1
Arrrr.
Day 2
Storm is finally over, after what seems like days at the wheel. (Gibbs says this is because I spent days at the wheel.) Too much cloud cover last night to determine current position. Sailing north with land to the east. Do not recognise coast – not Florida anyway, as entirely devoid of chimp-like politicians and sparkling castles, and cannot think of other north-south coast between Port Royal and New Orleans. …
Could be Portugal, if badly lost. Or Blackpool, if very badly lost.
Arrr.
Day 3
Cotton’s parrot sighted smoke to north. Well, actually squawked “Where is the horse and his rider?”, but Gibbs assures me that’s what it meant…

Day 3, later:
….
Huge armada assembled here at river delta. Most of larger ships (50 or so) have black sails; as usual, the Black Pearl is inspiration to all. Inspiration does not go as far as raggedy sails with huge holes, but we gave that look up ourselves, due to lack of forward motion …

Day 3, still later:
Interesting. This fleet hails from somewhere called Umbar. Never heard of it, and can’t find it in Mercator’s New Atlas of World Conquest, or A-Z of Caribbean, so is obviously local name for some perfectly ordinary place. Key West, perhaps. Or Morecambe (see Very Badly Lost possibility above).
Anyway, pirate armada call themselves corsairs, but am not fooled; they have black ships with black sails, crewed by ugly, overweight disfigured men with exotic accents. Perhaps ‘Umbar’ is actually Gateshead…

Pirates heading upriver to sack some city called Minas something. Cannot find this on the map either. (Memo to self: ask to copy their charts.) Have said we will join them, as long as we get an equal share of any loot, plus expenses. Will have Gibbs forge receipts…
Day 4:
Hmph. Always suspected crew were weasel-gutted cowards but did not expect to be proved right so comprehensively. They have deserted, every one of ’em, just because a ghost army turned up and swarmed over the ship. You’d think they’d never seen the walking dead before. And this lot are much prettier than Barbossa’s mob. In or out of moonlight…
Rest of fleet similarly affected. Fat pirates leaping overboard, marooning selves on delta islets, screaming, drowning, etc. Am Captain Jack Sparrow. Not scared of ghosts. Not going anywhere.
Am also pissed and incapable of walking, but that’s not the point!
At least do not have to share the Rum any more.
Day 4, later:
May have spoken too soon. Load of ruffians calling themselves Dunne-ed-dane (spelling?) turn up, along with a blond pretty-boy and a dwarf.
Allegedly they are with the army of Dead and are off to Minas Thing to save it from raiders and orcs and black-hearted scoundrels. Quite what killer whales are doing teaming up with scoundrels not quite clear, as is threat they pose to Minas Thing. …

As Black Pearl is clearly jewel (hahahah) of fleet, chief of Dunne-ed-dane has chosen it as flagship. He came aboard with pretty boy and dwarf but was put out to find me here.
Am off to Minas Thing to save it, says he.
Not on my ship you aren’t, says I. Arrrrr.
Why not? says pretty boy, looking at me with superior look.
For one (says I) I spent ten years without the Pearl an’ I’m not giving her up again for anything…
Dunne-ed-dane chief turns out to be Isildur’s Heir: eventually understood he wasn’t Isildur’s Hair (what is that accent?), but have never heard of Isildur, let alone Heir (or Hair)…
Pretty boy tells me he is Elf, from realm of Fairy. Reacts badly to being asked where his wings are, then. Points to ears as evidence, but have seen pointier ears on a bo’sun from Swansea. Something very familiar about him, but can’t quite put finger on it. Not while he’s watching, anyway. Dwarf tells me he is a Dwarf. This so blatantly obvious, do not bother to comment…

We drink to Destiny. Isildur’s Heir starts on about the Dark Lord, who is called Sow-Ron and lives in Morrdorr and is a Bad Thing. In return, tell him about myself, Aztec curse etc. Isildur’s Heir not much interested, but neither was I…
The rest, if you’re interested, is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/viva_gloria/95146.html

Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia. She writes fantasy and SF set in analogue or alternate Australian settings. She has published six fantasy novels, two of which were finalists for best fantasy novel of the year in the Australian Aurealis genre fiction awards, and some short stories in Australian and US anthologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Theresa Crater

Award-winning author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.
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