Otherworld Historical Fantasy

Over the years, I’ve written several blog posts about my quest to discover my true genre (Insecure much, Christina?). Good news, I’m not redefining my genre from the last time I raised the topic.

It remains otherworld historical fantasy. The sub-genre combines my two greatest loves going all the way back to my childhood: fantasy and history. Given some time has passed, I wanted to show you all how much I’ve enjoyed the sub-genre.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Historical fantasy is common and popular. I know. I read a lot of it, most of the stories I read occurring in Victorian London. The primary genre can overlap with gaslamp, gothic, steampunk, and others, like epic fantasy.

The first series I ever wrote, The Other Side of the Aperture (5 books, unpublished), was supposed to be epic fantasy, but went sideways partly because the genre wasn’t a good fit.

Thing is, by the time I embraced a more modern version of my worldbuilding, I’d already invested over 20 years developing it. I adored my world and have an imagination that races on a 24-hour clock. So, I combined history with my worldbuilding—before discovering my sub-genre existed.

Carrdia is dystopian, so often it’s about all that was lost—then rediscovered. Early, there’s often a gothic steampunk feel, but without the steam. It’s the perfect introduction to Ontyre.

Pannulus is a quasi Roaring Twenties and I spent months studying the period, including Art Deco. I read posts and research and watched videos. I continue to do so. That research, in turn, influenced Kovenlore Chronicles, though I can’t say exactly how because that’d be a spoiler.

While I don’t require the level of detail needed to show Earth history, I do have to learn quite a lot, then adapt it. Design, language, style, and technology must be applied or altered, unless I want to invent. I want to invoke the spirit of the original Earth era while combining it with the magic and fantasy that is Ontyre, including the Laws of Magic.

Trust in the Forgotten mood board where associated pictures are linked because they overlap. Note: Doppla the horse.

Trust in the Forgotten mood board where associated pictures are linked because they overlap. Note: Doppla the horse.

I thrive walking the line between. I live for it. It’s difficult to believe it took me so long to find my way here. I guess all those times in science classes were prophetic. A topic would interest me, but I wouldn’t learn it because I was too busy incorporating it into my daydreams. Interesting, though, that I didn’t do that in history.

In Riparia’s first novel, Trust in the Forgotten, I use swords, adapt pistols, and invent practitioners who can hurl fire. I use mammoths, adapt sabertooth cats, and invent residuals. I use horses, adapt airships, and invent travel across the astral plane.

What about Pannulus?

In Stealing Light, the first novel in the Thornwillow series, I introduce a new kind of zycon (a partial in Carrdia), someone with specialized magic. A lumen is someone who manipulates light and dark. It required time researching many aspects of light and how we use, measure, and perceive it.

Often I delve into architecture, design, engineering, or one of the sciences (geology was the science where I didn’t daydream).

Case of the Deadly Stroll mood board. ©2022 CA_Hawthorne

Case of the Deadly Stroll mood board. ©2022 CA_Hawthorne

For Case of the Deadly Stroll, I dove into jazz, which I now listen to even when I’m not working on Pannulus novels. I also spent weeks tracking down Talma Loyal’s vehicle. Finally, eureka! A 1927 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Roadster became a Tonare Apex Roadster with a lot of fun and magical extras.

All that after adapting engines, engines that were then introduced into the Carrdia novels.

So, yes, I’ve found my home. That’s why I put in 6-8 hours per day on my stories 7-days a week (I’m retired now) and love every minute of it.

It’s also why I’ll publish at some point in 2024 (and then regularly thereafter), if for no other reason than I want to share.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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