Over the next week we'll be featuring some blog posts with our authors' thoughts on fathers, both real and fictional, in honor of Father's Day.
For our first feature, we're discussing our favorite fictional fathers in books they read. In our second, we're asking them about fathers they wrote.
(note post includes affiliate links to the books mentioned, in case you want to check them out)
Annie's father in my forthcoming fantasy release, Aerisian Refrain. Annie is the book's MC, and although her father is deceased when the book opens, his influence as a calm, stable, self-possessed man is stamped on Annie's consciousness and her life. He is her hero figure, and his life lessons are the driving force behind much of what Annie does or doesn't do. In many ways, he was modeled after my own father.
Devya's pseudo father if not actual biological father of each of Devya's Children. He's kind of cold and calculating, more interested in the science than the people.
Julie C. Gilbert
I love Joss' father in Joss the Seven (and Guardian Angel). He rarely shows up directly in the story, and he sometimes reacts to tough situations in ways that push against idealized fatherhood--he sometimes gets angry and overwhelmed when measured calm would serve better. But he is also loving and present for his kids, whatever the situation. And in several key scenes, his presence is felt through Joss in spite of the fact he's offscreen.
It was only in hindsight that I realized aspects of his character were part of me reflecting on and appreciating my own father. My dad passed away while I was writing Joss the Seven, and I actually experienced writer's block for many months after his death. When I was finally able to return to the manuscript, my mind was full of affection for my wonderful father, with all his strengths and flaws. I believe those thoughts spilled onto the pages of my story indirectly, but there all the same.
J. Philip Horne
I've written several fathers in my books, but the first one I wrote was King Arnaud from King's Warrior, the first book in The Minstrel's Song series. King Arnaud is a simple man. He grew up as a farmer and loved the hard-work and simplicity of his life. He never wanted to be king or have rulership of a kingdom, which is one of the things that makes him so good at it. But before his duties and job as king, Arnaud always puts his family first. He loves his wife and daughter. He is an understanding father to Princess Kamarie, understanding her headstrong nature and giving her the freedom she needs to make her own choices, always trusting that the lessons he has taught her will remain in her heart and eventually lead her true.
I wrote King Arnaud in this way because I felt that there was a dearth of good fathers (and parents in general) in fiction, and particularly in fantasy fiction. I wanted to portray a spunky, feisty princess, but I also wanted her to respect her parents, and have their respect in return. Being a princess does not come naturally to Kamarie. But because she is confident in her parents' love, she determines to master those tasks and duties that are difficult for her. And in return, her father pretends not to know about the fact that she's cajoled one of his knights into training her as a squire (and has even given his own secret permission for these lessons to continue).
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
In Dragon's Posterity Ruskya is a dad of a 20-something son who wants to be out on his own. The two of them are very similar and struggle with doing things their own ways. The impetus behind the struggle came from having kids that same age. Often what bugs us most about our kids are our own traits. I also had him struggle with the fact that not all of his kids are dragon riders. This also comes from the pain of children walking their own path and not following the faith of their parents.
Kandi J Wyatt
In my dystopian series, 'The Infidel Books', I have two fathers that are polar opposites. Kaleb Savage is a gang lord who abuses his only son, trying to make him into an invincible, strong soldier and leader. I wrote Kaleb to show that abuse doesn't define the victim -- Kaleb's son chose different than his father, choosing family over glory and power. Kaleb goes through most of his life as a man who's only way of life is based on power and violence. And when it comes to his son, he's truly terrified of losing Nate or at the idea of Nate ever being hurt by someone else. In Kaleb's experience from his own father, abuse is just a way to ensure that Kaleb has total control and can strengthen his son in the only way he knows how. In the end, Kaleb does find Jesus and repents for all he did, but not until tragedies occur. Even then, things don't just 'get better' -- Nate isn't quick to show his love for his father, but he does eventually trust his dad again. Writing their relationship was heartbreaking to me because abuse is so very common in this world. Even though this book took place in the future, the pain isn't a fantasy.
And then, Burl Fisher, the future mayor of a small town struggling to survive in the war. Burl's family is bigger and he has kids who love him -- and kids who hate him, even after all he's done for them (raise them, love them, tried to show them the right path even if they didn't want it). Burl is not a perfect father -- he gets angry and sometimes focuses too hard on one thing. But his one goal is to protect and provide for his family, even if that means his own death. Burl tries hard to be what Jesus set an example to be -- a Light, a protector, a man after God's heart. Burl teaches his children what they need to know to survive in the harsh world but he doesn't expect perfection from them. He only tries to teach them that God will get them through. I wrote Burl Fisher the way I did to show that Godly men do still exist and they're never 'perfect'. The fathers who are selfless, and caring, and willing to fight for their loved ones... those are men after God's own heart. The men who know that while THEY will fail, God never will.
In THE BELTANE ESCAPE, I wrote Beacon, the father of Talfryn, a conflicted half Viking/half fairy, counter to the fairy stereotype. Instead of a mischievous trickster or cold court social climber, he's a loving, accepting father who fell in love with a Viking shield-maiden whose Cold Iron could kill him. THE BELTANE ESCAPE is a Young Adult Scottish medieval fantasy. I wanted teen readers to be surprised by the portrayal, but also give them a positive father figure. Even when Beacon and Talfryn are at odds, one never doubts Beacon loves his son.
Mr. Irons was a strong man who dragged his demon-possessed son to the disciples even though he had to slap him in chains to do it. (This is a Biblical retelling published in an anthology by Month9Books). He loved his son and had been over-protective prior to the possession, but seeing his son at the mercy of the demon made him realize he had been somewhat controlling, too.
Peter Sawfeather is Juniper's dad in the Juniper Sawfeather Trilogy. He is an influential environmental activist and proud American Indian. He gets a little touchy sometimes, but he has taught Juniper to care for the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. He's taught her to be strong, and he's her support when things go all wrong. Peter believes in the spirituality of his people and is often sharing the legends he's learned with Juniper and others. But when the mythical creatures from these legends turn out to be real, he does struggle to understand how this can be possible and wants to rationalize it away. Despite that, he is by her side when she's rescuing mermaids from an oil spill, camps at the base of the tree when she's trapped by the tree spirit up in its branches, and he is willing to sacrifice himself to keep her safe in the final book Echo the Cliffs.
I wanted to write a YA series where the parents are a major part of the plot, rather than absent parents, dead parents, or parents that come and go with no impact. I think you'll enjoy watching the dynamics of Juniper's family grown and change of the course of the three novels.
D. G. Driver
Spoiled for choice, here. I think I'll choose Leradan from my Become series. He had the job of raising a demi-god given the gift of superhuman strength. (The story is inspired by the legend of Hercules, but not a retelling.) He is the one who taught Gaian what will prove to be his greatest truth--and salvation. The only true purpose of strength is to defend and protect others.
Father I wrote: Fabiom - the young mc of my first Silvana novel (The Greening) has to learn what being a father means and what it can cost in The Turning, where, eventually fatherhood presents him with the choice to do one of two things both of which go against everything he is. It was also fascinating to write about a young man – Fabiom's son, Lesandor – whose father is very much alive and involved and capable. So, I guess I wrote Fabiom and his story as an exploration of ideas about parenthood.
A blog about all things fantasy from the elements we all love to how to write it. Posts are from our very own Fellowship of Fantasy authors.