Back in Banff, Rob Sawyer asked us, ‘why do you write’. Of course, most said ‘because it’s fun!’ (it’s not). But mine was pretty basic. I remember, as a kid, when I’d go into a book store, every book was magic. The Three Investigators (rather than the Hardy Boys), Blood Red Roses, the Black Cauldron…too many to list.
But then a strange thing happened when I grew older. Books became boring. Very few could capture my imagination, surprise me, keep me guessing. There were instances where it happened (Cabinet of Curiosities, Neuromancer) but for the most part, the magic was dead. Could this be because that was right around the recession of the early 90s? Or was it my then cynical view of the world (hey, I was in university, where you’re taught to question everything). I don’t know. The 90s brought a scaling back (the hair bands of the 90s gave way to grunge — I remember when Chris Cornell CUT his hair).
My reason for writing is that I wanted to return to that time of magic. I wanted swashbucklers, things that make me laugh at how clever the hero was… Well, I wanted magic.
I was reading Stephen King’s
And, of course, there was the magic. It’s what kids want more than anything; it’s what they crave. That goes back to the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and good old Alice, chasing after that wascally wabbit. Kids are always looking for the Ministry of Magic, and they usually find it.
Hey, I read that this weekend too! It was a great essay, and he hit the nail on the head as to why JK Rowlings was successful while RL Stein didn’t get the mainstream success. Rowling evolved. Her writing evolved, her characters evolved, and I think in a lot of ways her audience evolved with it. Those books take place over 7 years, and it took about 10 years for the stories to actually come out. The eager little ten year olds who read the first ones were wizened 20 year olds for the seventh.
I think tha’s pretty cool. I think it’s also cool the other stuff that she’s inspired like His Dark Materials and the Eragon type series.