5 Talented Authors Who Write About Mythology & Magic
Realism is all well and good, but some of us prefer to let our imaginations run wild when we read fiction, immersing our minds in fantastical stories about things hidden just beneath the reality of life. These five authors all take different tracks to exploring ancient mythology, fantasy, and magical realism by presenting relatable characters in incredible situations. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
5 Authors Creating Worlds Full Of Magic and Mystery
Suyi Davies Okungbowa Explains How Writing Helped Him Learn to Ride a Bike
What is Fantasy?
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that often involves supernatural elements like magic and usually takes place in a fictional universe that is significantly different from reality. Many people group fantasy and science fiction together, but while both are forms of speculative fiction, they are distinct from one another. While sci-fi often attempts to stay grounded in scientific truths, fantasy relies more on imagination and suspension of disbelief. Fantasy's origins are rooted in oral traditions which were eventually written down into books. In modern times, fantasy has expanded into several media, including television, film, and video & tabletop games.
Common Fantasy Tropes
The possibilities in this genre are endless, and no two authors create exactly the same world. Still, there are several common tropes that writers love to come back to again and again, sometimes adding their own unique twists. Here are a few beloved fantasy staples:
- Dark Lord
- The Epic Quest
- Medieval Setting & Folklore
- The Chosen One
New Mexico and The Storm Runner
Readers have long been fascinated by the world's rich tapestry of mythologies. Books that mobilize figures from ancient stories, or tell new stories of novel magical beings modeled on classical tales, often develop their own large fanbases. This list, presented in no particular order, looks at five authors writing such books today.
#1 is Suyi Davies Okungbowa, a Nigerian author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror inspired by his West African origins. He works in a subgenre called godpunk, which takes an irreverent approach to ancient myths and pantheons. Exemplary of the form, his novel David Mogo, Godhunter brings Yoruba mythology into an urban fantasy story set in present-day Lagos.
Published in 2019, the book has been enthusiastically praised in outlets like Literary Hub, The Verge, Wired, and Publishers Weekly. Okungbowa splits his time between Lagos and Tucson, where he is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. His short stories have appeared in anthologies such as A World of Horror and People of Color Destroy Science Fiction.
Okungbowa splits his time between Lagos and Tucson, where he is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona.
At #2, J.C. Cervantes is a New York Times best-selling author who lives in New Mexico. Her novel Tortilla Sun tells the story of a twelve year-old girl who spends a summer at her grandmother's remote village in that state and discovers some long-buried secrets. The middle grade book has been praised in outlets like Latinos in Kid Lit, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly.
Cervantes has published two titles in the Rick Riordan Presents series. The Storm Runner is a contemporary adventure story based on Mayan mythology. At its center is a young boy who spends his free time exploring a sleeping volcano. In the book's sequel, The Fire Keeper, readers follow his adventures with the Mayan gods after he moves to a secluded tropical island.
The #3 entry is Lisa Mason, a writer of fantasy and science fiction who has published more than ten books. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her 2019 novel Chrome takes place on an artificially-created planetoid in the Moon's orbit around Earth, where human and animal genes have been melded.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mason worked in law before becoming a writer and publishing her first story in Omni Magazine. Later adapted into the book Arachne, it has been called a cyberpunk classic. Her two Pangaea titles take place in an imagined ancient world ruled over by the all-powerful Imperium. The collection Strange Ladies brings together seven short stories about women with unusual powers.
In the #4 position, Australian author Kate Murdoch exhibited widely as a painter, in both her home country and internationally, before turning her hand to writing. She has published stories in Flash Fiction Magazine, Sick Lit, Firefly, and Twisted Sister Lit Mag. Murdoch reviews books by other writers on her blog. She has discussed her work on radio stations throughout Australia.
Her novel Stone Circle asks: is the ability to read minds a blessing or a curse? It takes place in sixteenth-century Pesaro, Italy. The protagonist is a servant at the Palazzo Ducale who participates in a competition to become the town seer. Murdoch's second book, The Orange Grove, is a historical novel centered around French aristocrats whose lives are changed by the arrival of a tarot reader.
It takes place in sixteenth-century Pesaro, Italy.
Finishing things up at #5, K.K. Allen writes romance and fantasy novels. Her signature series of sports romance novels revolves around the athletes of the fictional Gravity Dance Company in Los Angeles. Her other love stories include Waterfall Effect, which takes place in a picturesque Appalachian mountain town, and Under The Bleachers, about a woman falling for an NFL football player.
Much of Allen's fantasy writing is channeled into the Summer Solstice trilogy. The first title, Enchanted, introduces us to a young woman in Apollo Beach, Florida who ends up haunted by visions after learning the myths of her Ancient Greek ancestors. The story continues in The Equinox, as the protagonist Katrina Summer comes to terms with her powers. The final book in the series, The Descendants, concludes the story.