I love many genres of fiction, but Epic Fantasy has always been one close to my heart.
Growing up, like many people of my era, I read and fell in love with Tolkien and his epic tales. The simplicity of his stories wrapped around such a deep level of world-building hooked me. While many friends hated having to read The Hobbit at school, it exposed me to a plethora of new stories.
Since then there have been many different Fantasy authors I have loved to read. I am not sure if it’s the multiple points of view, the many slow-burning plots crisscrossing through the book or the fantastical magic and anything can happen nature of fantasy.
It’s not long only epic fantasy stories that I read, I also like short fast reads in mystery and crime, I love horror and thrillers and especially dark novels.
When I was very young and first thought I wanted to be a novelist I was reading war novels like Alistair Maclean and Spy thrillers from Le Carre and others.
When I gave up on my journalism degree and moved away from thinking about writing, I lost the idea for a long time, and it lay dormant for many years.
When it forced its way back into my mind, the first novel I drafted was a fantasy novel. I still have the notes of it and map sitting in a folder in a draw in my studio. It burned away in my mind, never really getting much attention, only those few moments when I would grant myself time.
I am not sure it would ever amount to a good story, looking back at it it was a mixed type of tale, and maybe it would be better if it was more in the vein of Terry Pratchett’s style. I am not so sure that style is best suited to me. I love his books, just not sure I could be as funny.
When I did decide not to wait any longer and get on with writing my first novel another small concept surfaced. It started as a tiny idea, and it has quickly evolved into the stories I am writing now.
The In All Jest series grew from a question in my mind about the typical court jester and what if they were more than just a ‘fool’.
Once the idea took hold, it became clear that it was going to be more than just one novel and it did fit the mould of an Epic Fantasy.
Every time I sat and drafted out the bigger story the series has grown. At the moment it looks like a six book series to me.
I never imagined the sort of research I would do to help write the book. Initially, the writing was simple writing until the world-building portion commenced, then I was driven in search of answers to many questions.
What has been intriguing is how much ‘history’ I have ended up studying and how far and wide the Jester existed around the world.
The Jester existed across all continents and in every race in one form or other. Not always like the commonly portrayed Medieval Jester of Europe.
In Asia and Africa, they had powerful character types, rules and dress styles. Interestingly there are similarities in different places which may or may not have influenced each other.
The trickster in some cultures, jester in others and simply the fool all left their impression both in reality and in classic composition. Shakespeare’s fools are known to many.
The In All Jest series I hope provides a different story than the typical one found in straight Medieval history and common tales, one where the Jester is more than just a fool, and the people around the Jester are part of the bigger narrative.
One of the tag lines for book 1, A Fool’s Errand, that I have been playing with is… “It’s all fun and games until somebody kills the Jester!”