Camelot’s Queen Named Best Second Book and Wins Gold in Fantasy

It’s public now, so I can officially announce that Camelot’s Queen was named Best Second Novel at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and won the Gold Medal in the Fantasy category, just as Daughter of Destiny did last year!

After my debut novel being named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, I didn’t think I would ever see another accolade like that. But for Camelot’s Queen, which is my favorite book I’ve written, to be acknowledged as a second book means the world to me! Wheee!!!

 

Double Winner at the Midwest Book Awards + Discovering Diamonds Reviews

Midwest Book Awards
I found out over the weekend that Daughter of Destiny won the fantasy category (Camelot’s Queen was also up for that award; I had 2 of 3 finalist slots) and Been Searching for You won the romance category at the Midwest Book Awards!

The winners were covered in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which is my first mention in my hometown paper. (I didn’t enter the IPPY Awards that are also mention in the article. Those awards are of questionable value for their price.)

Discovering Diamonds Reviews
Plus, Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen and Madame Presidentess have all been honored with the Discovering Diamonds badge for outstanding indie historical fiction.

If you read nothing else, check out the review for Madame Presidentess. I wish everyone was as as enthusiastic about the book as this reviewer! Here are the links to the other reviews:

Other Big News
Daughter of Destiny reached #49 in the historical fantasy category on Amazon over the weekend, which is HUGE! It stayed there are all weekend and is still in the low 50s. Thank you to everyone who has bought it and spread the word among your friends, family and acquaintances. We will get to #1 yet, together!

And I know about two more awards, but I can’t announce them because they aren’t public yet.

 

Camelot’s Queen Finalist for Foreword Indies Fantasy Award

Can you take two award announcements in one day?

I just found out that Camelot’s Queen is a Foreword Indies Book of the Year finalist in the Fantasy category! There were 2,200 titles submitted in 65 categories. Winners will be announced June 24!

Giving Away 35 Books for My 35th Birthday

I realized a few days ago that there are more books in my house than I have room for, thanks to my own book addiction and also to the advanced reading copies (ARCs) I get for reviewing for the Historical Novel Society.

In honor of my 35th birthday today, I’m giving away 35 books. I tried to group them into logical categories, so that means seven people will win packs of five books. Here’s what you could win:

Fantasy pack

Fantasy pack

Group 1: Fantasy

  1. The Falconer by Elizabeth May
  2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Book 3 of a trilogy) by Laini Taylor (personalized to me, but autographed)
  3. Netherworld by Lisa Morton
  4. The Water Witch (Fairwick Chronicles #2) by Juliet Dark
  5. Longinus by Steven Maines (personalized to a stranger, but autographed)
Mystery pack

Mystery pack

Group 2: Mystery

  1. Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austin mystery) (ARC)
  2. Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood (A Phryne Fisher mystery)
  3. The Prioress’ Tale by Margaret Frazer
  4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishigurd
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (audio book)
Chick lit/romance pack

Chick lit/romance pack

Group 3: Chick Lit/Romance

  1. Living Single by Holly Chamberlin
  2. Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina (ARC)
  3. How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. The Quilted Hearts Omnibus by Mona Hodgson
  5. Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham
Historical Fiction Pack 1

Historical Fiction Pack 1

Group 4: Historical Fiction (Group 1)

  1. Boudicca: Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott
  2. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
  3. Perfiditas by Allison Morton
  4. The Amber Treasure by Richard Denning
  5. The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton
Historical Fiction Pack 2

Historical Fiction Pack 2

Group 5: Historical Fiction (Group 2)

  1. Mary Called Magdalene by Margaret George
  2. The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
  3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  4. Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman
  5. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Historical Fiction Pack 3

Historical Fiction Pack 3

Group 6: Historical Fiction (Group 3)

  1. The Virgin’s Lover by Phillippa Gregory
  2. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  3. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
  4. The King’s Daughter by Barbra Kyle
  5. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
Non-fiction Pack

Non-fiction Pack

Group 7: Non-Fiction

  1. The Druids by Ronald Hutton
  2. The Mysteries of Avalon by August Hunt
  3. The Celts by Jean Markale
  4. Christianity and Paganism in the 4th – 8th Centuries by Ramsey MacMullen
  5. The Rise of Western Christendom by Peter Brown

Some of these books are brand new, some are gently used only by me, and some came from book fairs but are in good condition. All you have to do to win one group is complete the Rafflecopter link. (You’ll tell me your order of preference of the groups in the comments below, but you have to use the Rafflecopter for your entry to count.) There are more ways to get additional entries there, too. I’m keeping the contest open for a week, so you have plenty of time to enter. I’ll announce winners here sometime after September 3. Good luck!

PS – My goal is to be able to give away my own books next year!

Click here to enter Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: The Masked Songbird by Emmie Mears

The Masked Songbird_FC (2)Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend Emmie Mears, whose debut novel, The Masked Songbird (published by Harlequin) comes out this Tuesday, July 1. She’s in the middle of a whirlwind blog tour, but was kind enough to sit down with me to answer a few questions. She’s also provided an excerpt from her book (at the end of this post). You can preorder THE MASKED SONGBIRD at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JD7TWZK. Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!  
 1. Your book has been billed as “Bridget Jones meets Spider-Man.” How does that work? What can readers expect?

A lot of the superheroes we see are born with their powers and responsibilities. I wanted to write a character from the other side of that. Peter Parker is one of the latter; he goes from a picked-on kid to a superhero, which is one of the reasons I think he’s been so relatable for so many people. I wanted to write a messy woman who doesn’t have her life together learning how to build her own strength when those around her would rather she be weak.

2. You’ve referred to Gwenllian, your main character, as Scotland’s first superhero.  Tell us a little about her.

I got beaten to the punch a bit with Saltire, a big blue superhero who debuted not long ago. 🙂 Gwen Maule isn’t big OR blue, but she definitely packs a punch. Scotland is in a time of transition right now, and whether the Scots choose to forge their own nation apart from the UK or stay within the UK, and I wanted to write a character that reflected that transitional period. However Scotland votes, people across the country are in the process of making up their minds and learning about themselves and what they want for their country in the process.

3. Why as it important to you to create a female superhero, and in this particular location at this time in history?

To go with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks theme, I think having female superheroes (and superheroes of color with different ability levels and other qualities outside of a variation in 5 o’clock shadow) is important to show that you don’t have to share a gender with a superhero to find her relatable. Growing up female, I desperately wanted to see people like me doing awesome things and saving the world, but I also deeply identified with Peter Parker, Wolverine, and other male superheroes who were trying to find their way in the world. The more diverse stories that are out there, the more we can break down the walls for those who are accustomed to seeing their own demographic’s dominance and show them that they can find themselves in other stories as well.

4.  If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Teleportation. Hands down. Think Davy in Jumper more than Nightcrawler, though.

5.  I know you have a degree in history. If you could live in any other time period, what would it be and why?

The future. One of the reasons I write is to be able to imagine better worlds than the one we’ve inherited. I couldn’t imagine myself going back in time to be someone’s property, but I like to pretend I have hope for a better future.

6.   What’s next for you?

Next in the pipeline is the sequel to THE MASKED SONGBIRD as well as a little non-fiction debut, A GEEK GIRL’S GUIDE TO FANDOM, also from Harlequin. I’m thrilled to get the chance to work more with my editor, and I can’t wait to continue Gwen’s story. After that, I’ve got a few other secret projects in development.

The Masked Songbird blurb:

Mildly hapless Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule is surviving. She’s got a boyfriend, a rescued pet bird and a flatmate to share rent. Gwen’s biggest challenges: stretching her last twenty quid until payday and not antagonizing her terrifying boss.

Then Gwen mistakenly drinks a mysterious beverage that gives her heightened senses, accelerated healing powers and astonishing strength. All of which come in handy the night she rescues her activist neighbour from a beat-down by political thugs.

Now Gwen must figure out what else the serum has done to her body, who else is interested and how her boss is involved. Finally—and most mysteriously—she must uncover how this whole debacle is connected to the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Gwen’s hunt for answers will test her superpowers and endanger her family, her friends—even her country.

Excerpt from The Masked Songbird:

CHAPTER 1

Days Until Referendum: 24

POOF.

That’s the sound I imagine my boss’s head making when it explodes.

Or maybe BLAM. A comic book noise, written in all-caps in a jagged bubble at the top of the panel while I dance a jig and pick bits of her out of my hair. As Annamaria de Fournay speaks into her mobile, not facing me, the back of her head displays no outward indication of an imminent explosion.

She toys with a white card, eyes fixed on a bouquet of purple-blue flowers in a fluted white vase. “I appreciate the flowers,” she says without a hint of irony. “Interesting choice.”

I wait for her to notice me, but her gaze remains locked on the angular petals. After a beat, she goes on.

“The research has been completed? You’re certain, then.” She pauses, a hint of a smile hovering at the corner of her mouth. “You’ll have to work out what to put it in. Something sweet would work.” She turns her head away from the bouquet and starts, seeing me. The almost-smile vanishes. “I’ll ring you back.” She drops her mobile on the table and looks at me as if I’ve walked into the loo to find her on the toilet with her knickers around her ankles.

She says nothing for forty-seven seconds. I cough. “Ms de Fournay, you wanted to see me?”

“Took you long enough to get here.”

I’m not going to remind her that she was on the phone when I arrived. What research was she talking about? A momentary picture of de Fournay at a chemistry set blowing up beakers of bright green liquid intrudes, and I shake it away before I crack a smile. She’s probably just researching the top ten habits of highly effective arseholes.

The Queen swivels in her chair and turns her green eyes on me. I instantly pity the bouquet for having to endure forty-seven seconds of that stare.

Her hair falls in exquisite curls to her breasts, and her nose rises toward the ceiling when I fail to apologise at once, and I look at my hands where they sit clasped in my lap, focusing my gaze on the small ruby ring Mum gave me when I turned eighteen.

De Fournay laces her fingers on the table. Not one of her nails is smudged or chipped. Even if I made her salary, I don’t reckon I’d get a manicure every day. I refuse to accept that she keeps them so perfect without daily upkeep.

“The financial you ran on Francis Duck’s merger lacked any glaring errors. He was very pleased, and he requested that I tell you personally of his…esteem.” Annamaria de Fournay’s lip quirks as if someone has tugged at a marionette string.

I stare at her, waiting for her to continue. I don’t trust myself not to squeak or belch or scream if I open my mouth, so I nod with as much grace as I can muster.

“Additionally, he asked that you be responsible for his summaries for the foreseeable future. I trust you understand the value of his continued loyalty to our company and conduct yourself accordingly.”

I nod again, not sure if de Fournay just praised me or if I fell through my mirror this morning into Wonderland. Or Bizarroworld.

For one shining moment, I think she’s going to let me go without a thrashing.

Instead her lips, top and bottom, as even and calculated as the rest of her, flatten into a line. She gestures to the chair across from her, dropping a folder on the table.

I sit, cupping the arms of my chair with both hands and trying to absorb the coolness of the plastic as a buffer against the verbal flamethrower she secrets away behind those lips. Her eyes are stony jade, her chin high, her skin smooth as a morning loch.

One immaculate French-manicured fingernail lands on the file folder that bridges the mahogany conference table between us. The white crescent of the nail’s tip reflects the fluorescent light from the ceiling, and as she leans forward, I smell the rosewater she dabs at her temples every day at two-thirty.

It might be a friendly gesture if I hadn’t seen it every day for three years. In spite of the compliment she just paid me, something in that file is my fault, and those even lips are about to part in a searing tirade against my character, my work ethic, my mum’s Welshness, my parochial highland crofter upbringing and the ethical conundrum of Mum allowing me to live past birth. Most days, Annamaria de Fournay believes my mother ought to have shrouded me in white linen and fed me to the selkies.

She opens the folder. A rush of rose scent crests over the table like a breaking wave. Pushing one sheet of paper toward me, her lips manage to stay in formation even as she speaks.

Miraculous.

“Do read this date for me.”

I blink, following the line of her finger down to its gleaming, polished end and read aloud. “Nineteenth of August.”

“Do you not find that curious?”

I find her accent obnoxious, but the date looks mundane enough to me.

Annamaria de Fournay came to Edinburgh from Cambridge, but if you ask her about it, you’d think she came straight from Buckingham Palace. While I don’t doubt that she’s English, the way she pushes every vowel out through the bridge of her nose makes it sound as though she’s thanking her subjects in St James’s Court rather than pointing out a discrepancy in an accounting report.

I shift my shoulders in response to her question.

 “This report was due the ninth of August, Ms Maule. Not the nineteenth, though I see how someone who squints as much as you do could imagine a one in front of the nine.”

Och, aye. That. Truth is, the report was turned in on the eighth of the month, but telling her would just make her set me aflame.

My eyesight is fine. I squint because her rosewater makes my eyes burn.

I used to try to argue my case with her. At least until it resulted in her dragging me into her office every day to flay me with words. Bringing up Francis Duck’s account will only make her angrier. Now I shut up, try to tune her out, and hope she’ll let me return to my blissfully unscented office.

I settle in, painting my face with an expression I hope radiates contrition and humility. I likely just look constipated, but she prattles on, and I wait for her mobile to beep for her next meeting. Two-thirty, rosewater scratch and sniff. Three o’clock, humiliate Gwenllian Maule. Three-thirty, fawn over clients and water them with expensive single malt.

I’m a part of her schedule now, as surely as the rosewater.

 “We are Edinburgh’s finest accountancy firm, and the go-to resource for businesses in the northern United Kingdom. Our clients expect more than a crofter’s level of professionalism, Ms Maule. Sheep and accountancy are not bedfellows. You will submit a revised report by Friday. And,” she continues with no change in tone, “I will not tolerate any more careless mistakes of this nature. Do it again and I won’t wait for your annual review to fire you—and no number of compliments from Francis Duck will keep you in this office.”

Fired. I can almost see bills popping up above my head in bubbles. Rent. Mobile. The university loans I make just enough to pay monthly. Credit cards. Car repayment for a car that doesn’t even run. My shoulders curl in, and the air I draw into my lungs feels thick, heavy. I’m glad I’m already sitting down, because I feel wobbly and lightheaded. My annual review is coming up in a couple short weeks. The review is just the excuse she needs to get rid of me, contract or no contract.

De Fournay waits for my response, her eyes trained on my face.

My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. I force the words out so she’ll stop looking at me. “It won’t happen again, Ms de Fournay.”

I almost sound sure of it.

Just my luck. One of our best clients picks me to do his reports, and she still finds a way to remind me that nothing I ever do here is good enough.

Her eyes drop back to the desk, and I uncurl my shoulders, waiting for the air in the room to thin without her unblinking gaze to thicken it. Her fingernail scans across the report like a heat-seeking missile, searching for more mistakes she can throw in my face. Finding none, she returns to the subject of my idiocy.

I stop listening and watch Annamaria de Fournay’s head, looking for signs of it going POOF. If only I could press a red button and make it so.

About Emmie Mears:

Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state promptly spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country.

Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie’s childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor.

Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they’re lions and tigers.

Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!

Please leave your comments for Emmie below. She’ll be around to answer them.

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

nightcircus-styled-01Wow. When I finished this book that was all I could think. But I’m sure you’re going to want more in a review, so here it goes:

The Night Circus is the story of a mysterious circus that is only open at night and comes and goes from a location without warning. But the circus is only a backdrop for a much more serious event: a magical competition between Celia and Marco, who were drafted into this fight as children without their consent because of their abilities to control time and space. Over time, it becomes clear that their competition involves not only the two of them and their masters, but the whole circus and the fate of everyone in it.

This is Erin Morgenstern’s first novel, which is so hard to believe because she writes with the skill of someone who’s been honing her craft for 30 years. It’s a lush, romantic, suspenseful tale worthy of the hype it has received. Morgenstern truly makes magic real through her prose. The descriptions are so vivid, so evocative in their creativity that you feel like you’re in a dream in the whole time – one you can’t wait to get back to. From the searing pain of a binding spell to the lofty heights of a circus tent meant to emulate walking the clouds, you’ll feel like you’ve lived it all by the end of the book. The plot is well paced and will leave you breathless at certain points, while wishing you could freeze the story on a particularly beautiful scene at others. The characters are strong and unique, about as far from stock as you get. Thanks to the author’s masterful storytelling, you form a relationship with them as you read that makes them all feel like family, even the ones you despise.

If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that the ending fell a little flat for me. The book is so grandiose that I was expecting a bang at the end, when it really just quietly came to a conclusion. What happens makes sense, but it’s a little bit disappointing that there wasn’t one more dramatic revelation. It’s like being on a roller coaster and going up that last hill, but instead of the final sharp descent, you just travel on an even track until the ride stops. But that’s not enough for me to take anything away from my 5-star rating of the book.

I listened to this as an audio book and I have to say it was a little difficult to follow the jumps in time since I couldn’t just flip back a few pages to see the order of things. But the narrator, Jim Dale, once again proves why he’s the best in the business. I highly recommend this format.

In short, this is an incredible book that I will read over and over again, if only to escape from reality and hopefully learn to be a stronger writer from Morgenstern’s enviable talent. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

PS – This is the only book written in present tense I’ve ever read where I didn’t notice it (and I hate present tense books). I actually felt it was the only way the story could have been told. Bravo to the author for showing this skeptic how this manner of writing can be done well.

Have you read The Night Circus? If so, what did you think of it? If not, is it something you plan to read?

D is for Daughter of Smoke and Bone

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

Great opening line, right? So begins Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. If I had a daughter, I’d be proud to have her read it. This Young Adult (YA) urban fantasy is witty, intelligent and captivating. And unlike some other YA books, it manages to get morality across without being preachy.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the story of Karou, a 17-year-old girl in Prague who is by day an art student and by night an errand runner for Brimstone, a strange creature part of a race called Chimera. He trades teeth (animal and human) for coins that grant wishes on the supernatural black market. Karou doesn’t know her parents, her past or how she got mysterious eye-like tattoos (called hamsa) on the palms of both of her hands. Brimstone raised her from a baby and as a result, she is aware of how the supernatural world overlaps our own. Eventually, her two worlds collide when menacing black handprints are seared into the doors that are portals between the worlds, and a mysterious angel named Akiva becomes obsessed with her, leading her on a voyage of self-discovery that will change her life, her very identity, and set the stage for an Otherworldly war.

Hamsa

Though this book is fantasy, the thing I liked most about it was how much I could relate to it. Karou and her best friend, Zusana, remind me of me and my best friend (even down to the eerily accurate conversations) and Karou is very normal, despite her knowledge of supernatural things. She makes mistakes and suffers the same trials and temptations of every teenage girl. Even Brimstone, as animal as he is, is the father/brother/protector every girl/woman should have in her life at least once. In the mist of all the wishes, magic and impossible feats is a very real love story and a chilling tale of hate and genocide that smacks very much of our own history.

And if that wasn’t enough, Laini Taylor writes in such an evocative way, you feel like you’re walking through the streets of Prague with her. Her writing is lyrical and beautifully done.

Did I mention these books are laugh out loud funny? I listened to them on audiobook, and it’s a good thing I was alone, because I snorted a few times. One of my favorite exchanges comes near the beginning of the book:

“’I don’t know many rules to live by,’ he’d said.  ‘But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles–drug or tattoo–and…no inessential penises either.’

‘Inessential penises?’ Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. ‘Is there any such thing as an essential one?’

‘When an essential one comes along, you’ll know,’ he’d replied.” 

I picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone not because of all the acclaim around it (it’s been on practically every #1 list out there), but because author Veronica Roth recommended it on the basis of the quality of the writing. I’m so glad I took her word for it. I hope you will love it as much as I did. I can’t wait for the second book in the series, which is due out this fall.

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? What did you think of it? What other D topics would you like to read about? 

Arthurian Legend: Historical Fiction or Fantasy?

When I first started to seriously consider getting my work published, I posted to an online message board asking whether agents/publishers consider Arthurian legend historical fiction or fantasy. I received only one reply (rather snarky), “Oh that stuff gets passed off as historical fiction all the time.”

That was when I realized not everyone thinks Arthurian legend is a serious topic (or sub-genre, if you will) for historical fiction. Where it should be classified really depends on your definition of “historical.” If by that word you mean something firmly grounded in evidence and fact (especially written), then you won’t ever be able to accept Arthurian legend as historical. But if you accept a looser definition that includes anything that takes place in another time period and attempts to recreate the history, culture, politics, religion, etc. of that time, then you open yourself up to including Arthurian legend.

I’m happy to say that the Historical Novel Society (HNS) counts it as historical fiction. As stated in their Guide to King Arthur:

From the point of view of historical fiction, the Arthur mythos has always pin-pointed the fault-line between history and story. The historians pull in the direction of a realistic, Celtic post-Roman world. Their Arthur is without magic, without high-Catholic symbolism, and without chivalry. The fantasy authors pull the other way, setting the stories in a time outside time, often depicting a battle between Christian ‘magic’ and pagan ‘magic’, plundering the myths for narrative and atmosphere. Literary authors tend to stand one foot in both camps, enchanted by the magic realism and epic poetry at the heart of the stories, but wanting to give emotional consistency and humanity (usually historical humanity) to the protagonists.”

Personally, I believe that Arthurian legend can be either historical fiction or fantasy, depending on if the author chooses to ground his/her story in history. As I’ve said before, there is very little historical evidence for Dark Ages Britain and King Arthur. Really all we know for sure is that the tribes of Britain fought against each other after Rome left their shores in 410 AD. They united (presumably under a single leader) to face the Saxons in battle at a place traditionally known as Mount Badon, somewhere around the year 500 AD (some argue as much as 30 years earlier or later on the date). They roundly defeated the Saxons, who then left them alone for decades. Their leader is traditionally called Arthur, which may be a title or a name. Around him grew the stories we know as Arthurian legend (see parts 1, 2, and 3 of my series on the evolution of Arthurian legend to learn more).

Because we have so few reliable records, those of us interested in Arthur and Celtic Britain must rely heavily on myth and tradition. This opens up a lot of room for interpretation and invention. (Hence, the “fiction” part of “historical fiction.”) But it can also lead into the realms of fantasy when we make up things to fill in the historical gaps, especially if those things involve the supernatural. But does magic always mean fantasy? Again, the answer depends on your point of view. The Celts certainly had a belief in magic. And there are people in our world today who will swear psychic abilities, the manipulation of energy and Otherworldly beings are very real, while others say they are pure make-believe or wishful thinking.

In short, until the day someone can definitively prove one way or the other that Arthur did or did not exist and we find records of his culture, there will be the possibility for both historical accuracy and fantasy in fiction that deals with him and his world.

And my books? I never thought I’d say this, but according to the HNS definition, I think I fall in the literary category. My Arthur and Guinevere live in post-Roman Britain (approximately 491-530 AD) and I’ve tried very hard to make the culture/politics true to the time period, but I also couldn’t imagine an Arthurian world without magic. Because of the tensions of the time, I carry on the fantasy tradition of emphasizing the clash between pagan and Christian, but not only in theology, also in politics and power.

Do you think Arthurian legend can be considered historical fiction? Or would you define it as fantasy? Why? Does how it’s classified or shelved at a bookstore even matter to you as a reader?