No, no, she isn’t going anywhere. Well, she IS, as you’ll soon find out in Pirate’s Alley, but I’m emerging from the cave of the day job to tip my hat to Sir Terry Pratchett, who died yesterday after a several-year bout with Alzheimer’s.
First, it’s a horrible, horrible disease. I have lost two aunts to it, and now a cousin has it.
It would be disingenuous of me to claim to be a great fan of Terry Pratchett’s work, as I am not in general a reader of pure fantasy. But it was an essay he wrote–or, rather, a transcription of a speech he gave, that I read in 2009 as I was noodling around the idea of trying my hand at writing a novel, my first-ever bit of fiction. I was going to write about a young female shapeshifter in New Orleans and maybe work in Hurricane Katrina, but hadn’t gotten much further with the idea until I read this thing called “Why Gandalf Never Married.” In it, Terry Pratchett talked about gender stereotyping in fantasy and it made me start thinking about witches and wizards in the books I’d read, in which wizards were mostly male and powerful and witches were mostly female and also maybe powerful–but not as powerful as wizards. I’ve since learned of others, but at that time the only books I could think of with female wizards was also my favorite UF series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.
And so my young shapeshifter, DJ, became a wizard, which in turn led me to develop a magical system and a world for it to take place in, and the rest, I suppose is history.
So let’s hoist a toast to Sir Terry Pratchett. DJ owes him much.