Fantasy “Behind The Scenes” Tour – Stop #4
“The Occult and Magic” by Stephen Morris
I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!
The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FaceBook about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: “You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!” LoL!)
But the Wicked Witch of the West was my favorite not just because she was powerful. She was also struggling to achieve something, the same way Dorothy was struggling to achieve something. Dorothy wanted to get home to Kansas and the Wicked Witch wanted the shoes of her sister. Were the shoes a sentimental memento? Or were they dangerous weapons? We don’t know. We only know that the Witch wanted those shoes more than anything and was willing to go to any lengths to get them. Just as Dorothy was willing to do anything to get back to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on the farm in Kansas. The struggles of both the Witch and Dorothy were familiar because they were the same basic struggle. Their struggle was the fundamental human struggle familiar to anyone who desperately wants something—a job, an education, artistic expression, survival or a new life—and will do anything to achieve it.
As an author of contemporary and historical fantasy, I try to introduce readers to characters that are fascinating and powerful yet familiar in basic, fundamentally human ways. No one is perfect. They struggle to achieve their goals. Their experiences with the supernatural ring true because all the magical or fantastic elements in my books are rooted in authentic folklore, legend, or medieval-Renaissance occult beliefs and practices; the experiences of my characters ring true—I hope!—because they engage with the world in the same ways that our grandparents and ancestors did as they struggled to achieve whatever goals they had.
I listen to the characters and help them to discover who they are and what journeys they are on. I share aspects of myself with each of them and they share themselves with me; if I am quiet and listen, I can share not only their joys and frustrations and despair myself but communicate their experience to my readers. My characters interact with those authentic pre-modern beliefs and practices, retelling and reshaping them for modern audiences. I introduce characters to each other that might not have met in their original settings but that have stories and experiences to share with each other. By sharing their experiences, they enrich each other and the readers who can eavesdrop on their conversations or thoughts.
In writing, I try to be my truest self and attempt to build bridges between cultures and histories, practices and experiences, characters and readers.
Find Out More
I’m Timothy Bateson, and this is my third time doing the Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo. Every year, this event has just got bigger and better organized, and I’ve gone from a participating author to Fantasy Genre Manager. What makes this year different is that I’m more excited than ever, because there are so many great authors coming on board this year, as well as some old friends returning from previous years.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the honor of helping over 70 fantasy authors prepare themselves for the CyCon, as well as getting ready myself.
So, what have we got going one?
- Fantasy Blog Hop – Your chance to take a tour of some of the authors websites and learn more about them. Discover additional materials, uncover great books, sign-up for exclusive offers/news. The blog hop is separated into three groups, and will go live on April 6th at 9pm EST:
- Tour #1 – starts here – featuring: Aaron-Michael Hall, Alexandra Carey, Alexis Kennedy, Amanda Mabry, Andy Peloquin, Angel M., Angela B. Chrysler
- Tour #2 – starts here – featuring: Angela J. Ford, Assaph Mehr, C.T. Callahan, D. Thourson Palmer, Ilana Maletz, Jack Massa, Jodie Pierce
- Tour #3 – starts here – featuring: Logan Miehl, Mackenzie Flohr, Sarah Kennedy, Stephen Morris, Toi Thomas, Zachary Chopchinski, Mary R. Woldering
- Fantasy Genre Tour – This is where we give the authors the spotlight, and let them take the floor. You’ll find book expos, articles, and giveaways inside:
- First Lines Scavenger Hunt – Match the first lines of the stories to the books they came from, and be entered for a chance to win some amazing prizes. The participating authors have offered up everything from books to gift cards.
- Fantasy Author Showcase – Drop in on the authors over at Goodreads, where you can find out more about over 30 great fantasy authors. We’re the largest group in the expo, with some of the most diverse readers. Come find out why!
What I’ll Be Doing
I’m taking part in many of the events that are listed above, as well as overseeing several things happening on Facebook, running some discussion panels, and much more.
- I’m also one of the authors being featured in the “Book Dreams: Volume 1” anthology, coming from Brain to Books. “April Fool: Shadows Over Seattle #0.5” will be exclusive to his collection.
- There is also my Author Showcase, over on Goodreads, which will be, so be sure to drop in and get to see some behind-the-scenes information for my stories.
- Ever wondered what it sounded like when an author recorded the opening chapter of his own book? Watch me read the first chapter of “Under A Hunter’s Moon: Shadows Over Seattle (Prequel #1)”, then pick up your copy from Amazon.
- There is also a very good chance that I’ll be dropping in on Joe Compton, over at the GoIndieNow podcast.
So head over to the Brain to Books website, and save the dates for this amazing event, and discover some fantastic books and writers.