My blog has been focusing on the idea of hope in the fantastical lately. It’s a theme found over and over throughout fantasy and science fiction (as well as other genres) and I was curious what authors would have to say about it. Luckily, several authors were generous with their time and opinions.
Today, I’m excited to feature a guest post from Joanna Maciejewska, author of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise.
Hope, Friendship, and Epic Fantasy
Hope is one of those feelings that often keeps us going when things turn dire, and when the world becomes a shade too dark for us to cope, we escape into fiction. That escape might take different forms: to find comfort in learning that there are worlds more cruel and darker than ours, or to find comfort in exploring worlds full of wonder and magic.
Yet, it seems like there’s no middle ground, and our choices are limited to going “all grimdark” or “full high fantasy”, and it’s hard to find worlds that carry the realism of the world live in and at the same time can provide a genuine injection of hope.
When creating a world and a story, it felt like a hard balance to strike, and my solution was… friendship. In the real world, I’m lucky to have a handful of wonderful friends. Not only are they there for me when I need support, but they offer their companionship, experience, and time. Thanks to them, things rarely feel hopeless.
That’s why I wanted to preserve that feeling in my story. The world of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise is full of things we know too well: evil, cruelty, betrayal, lies, corruption, petty people… you name it. There are even otherworldly creatures who are more violent and brutal than humans meddling in human matters and manipulating their human pawns.
With all of that, my books could easily take the grimdark turn, but I think putting friendship in the focus of the story softened the hard edges of the unforgiving setting. Kamira and Veelk, the main characters and best friends for years, go through a lot, together and alone, facing dangers and difficult choices, but their friendship never comes into question. At any point, either would gladly give his or her life for the other, and they keep no secrets.
I think that promise of the friendship never broken is what helps my books to be hopeful while avoiding the feeling of sugarcoated issues or lack of realism. And thus it helps to carry hope, that feeling we often need to survive, off the pages of the series and into the real world, because most of us has at least one close friend we can confide in and who stays by our side through the worst storms. And if Kamira and Veelk, working together, can stand against anything, maybe we could as well. This kind of hope is what I want to bring to my readers.
About the author:
Joanna might be a bit too cautious to do anything even remotely daring or dangerous herself, so she writes about daring adventures and dangerous magic instead. Yet, she found enough courage to abandon her life in Poland and move to Ireland, and then some years later, she abandoned her life in Ireland to move over to the US. She’s determined to settle there, once she finally chooses which state to reside in.
When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she plays video games or makes amateur art. She lives the happy life of a recluse, surrounded by her husband, a stuffed red monkey, and a small collection of books she insisted on hauling across two continents.
More about the series and purchase links: https://authorjm.com/books/pacts-arcane-and-otherwise-series
Direct purchase link for By the Pact (first in series): https://books2read.com/ByThePact