Jeffe Kennedy–5 Reasons I Love Epic Fantasy (and #Giveaway)

Today, I’m very happy to welcome one of my favorite people, Jeffe Kennedy, back to the blog. She’s here to celebrate ORIA’S GAMBIT, the second book in her Sorcerous Moons fantasy romance series that kicked off earlier this summer with LOREN’S WAR.

ABOUT JEFFE: Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. …Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.  She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

And now let’s hear more about ORIA’S GAMBIT:

cover-Oria'sGambitFinal_Type650ABOUT ORIA’S GAMBITA Play For Power…Princess Oria has one chance to keep her word and stop her brother’s reign of terror: She must become queen. All she has to do is marry first. And marry Lonen, the barbarian king who defeated her city bare weeks ago, who can never join her in a marriage of minds, who can never even touch her—no matter how badly she wants him to. A Fragile Bond…To rule is to suffer, but Lonen never thought his marriage would become a torment. Still, he’s a resourceful man. He can play the brute conqueror for Oria’s faceless officials and bide his time with his wife. And as he coaxes secrets from Oria, he may yet change their fate…An Impossible Demand…With deception layering on deception, Lonen and Oria must claim the throne and brazen out the doubters. Failure means death— for them and their people. But success might mean an alliance powerful beyond imagining…

Find the buy links here.

Now, let’s hear from Jeffe, who’s going to talk about why she loves writing epic fantasy, a skill I suspect I do not have but greatly admire 🙂




Five Reasons I Love Epic Fantasy

Jeffe Kennedy

I’m visiting Suzanne’s blog today fresh from both World Con and Bubonicon – one huge convention and one small, both focusing this year on science fiction. As a fantasy writer, these should not have been my milieu, but it’s amazing how much overlap there really is between science fiction and fantasy.

Particularly epic fantasy, which is one of my first loves. As a young reader, I never differentiated between science fiction and fantasy and over the course of these two conventions, I ended up on several panels composed of writers of fantasy and writers of science fiction – some of whom write in both subgenres. We had an amazing agreement on the various topics, with very similar perspectives on how each subgenre handles jeffe picvarious issues.

So it’s amusing that Suzanne asked me to expound on why I love epic fantasy, because I’ve been mulling about this subgenre that lights me up.

  • Playing with Politics

One of the aspects of storytelling that characterizes Epic Fantasy is the complex political elements at play. Let me tell you—a great way to deal with political frustrations is to put out characters representing your best ideals and worst fears and let them battle it out. It’s both cathartic and informative. I have a different view of world politics from creating my own leaders and forces jockeying for power.

  • Riffing on Religion

It’s a great truism of religion that it’s difficult to really explore in the real world because the topic is so fraught. How we feel about religion is tied up with family, community, basic identity and personal belief. It’s hard to get past the knee-jerk responses. By creating a mythology unique to a world, the effect of spiritual belief and the power of religious organizations can be explored with much more freedom.

  • Creating Epic Characters

An epic storyline calls for larger-than-life characters. I sometimes get asked how my heroines and heroes can have such high ideals and go to such lengths to do the right thing. That’s because I want this from the world. I want leaders who shoulder responsibility because they care and they know they should. I want them to do the best possible job by the people they’re responsible for. Likewise, I like my power-hungry villains to spin vast webs of deceit with their plans.

  • An Ever-Expanding World

So, it’s become kind of a joke at this point, with The Twelve Kingdoms books readers ask all the time if there will be ultimately twelve books. I point out that by the end of THE TALON OF THE HAWK, there are decidedly thirteen kingdoms and in THE PAGES OF THE MIND (which is book one of The Uncharted Realms series for a reason), there’s a *ton* more. Likewise, with my Sorcerous Moons “trilogy,” it looks like it will take more than three books to tie up that story. Because the world keeps expanding. I love the infinite possibilities of building huge, complex worlds.

  • A Cast of Thousands

Likewise, with each new installment on a series, new secondary characters (and tertiary, and quaternary, and so on) appear. A big world contains a lot of people, and each brings a new perspective to events. Many of them go on to become the protagonists of their own stories, which is hugely gratifying to write.

What about all of you – what do you love about reading Epic Fantasy?

Thanks, Jeffe! I love the worldbuilding–when my books dip a toe into fantasy (and go into Faerie, for example), I love the freedom of being able to build that big, quirky world with no rules but my own. Well, within reason :-). Then I have to scuttle back to the real world.

How about you guys? Weigh in for a chance at today’s $5 Amazon GC. Are you a reader of epic fantasy? What do you like about it? (Yes, Game of Thrones counts–at least the book version!)

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

41 thoughts on “Jeffe Kennedy–5 Reasons I Love Epic Fantasy (and #Giveaway)

  1. I think the closest I’ve ever gotten to epic fantasy is The Lord of the Rings. I tried Reading The Game of Thrones series but gave it up.

  2. I do love epic fantasy. I cut my teeth on the Pern books, loved the Finovar trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, can’t leave out Tolkien and C S Lewis. Simon R Green Hawk & Fisher books, Roger Zelazny’s Amber books and oh so many more. I started on the Wheel of Time books, but quit. I think they should have ended quite a bit before they actually did.

  3. I have to agree with all your reasons listed especially regarding world-building. That’s always a big plus for me.
    One series that I keep hearing good things about is Steven Erickson’s Malazan books but I haven’t got round to them yet. Any opinions?

  4. I’ve got a lot of epic fantasy on my TBR. I gave up on ASOIF after book 4 and a quarter? — I just got kind of lost. Which is a problem i see with open-ended epic series, that it gets too big and there’s no closure. I haven’t read the big names in epic fantasy beyond first books (Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan) besides Tolkien. I read everything he wrote in HS and college I think including his published notebooks and letterbooks. Then I got into Norse and Celtic mythology rather than jump into other fantasy series.

    I’ve started reading more urban fantasy which can be sort of like epic fantasy but with more of the thriller built in. Just finished Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead which reads like an epic with multi-POV chapters and a big world and big problems. I’ve also read the first dozen or so of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books and it becomes more epic/high fantasy and less traditional noir + wizards as it goes along.

    • It’s an interesting point about open-ended series and I is part of why GRRM is having a slow time of writing this next book – he’s having to bring the threads together again and that’s not easy! I haven’t read Max Gladstone – sounds interesting!

  5. I love epic fantasy. I read Oria’s Gambit this week and highly recommend this series. Definitely looking forward to the next book!

  6. I love fantasy worlds! Anything is possible. I will even admit rereading books multible times just because I want to live in that world for a little bit longer.

  7. I do love Epic Fantasy. Both the LOTR & A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series are great favorites. Worlds to dive into and stay a while.

  8. I love epic fantasy for many of the reasons mentioned above, the opportunity to explore new worlds and worldviews without risk of argument, the rich story that develops over many experiences and through multiple viewpoints, and for the escape it provides from my decidedly non-heroic, non-magical daily life.

  9. I think big ideas need big landscapes. One world-building venture I’ve been impressed with is J.K. Rowling. She starts with just one little magic corner: a boarding school in a far corner of Britain, and some kids. And it grows to the size of Europe.

  10. Two of my favorite authors in one place!! FTW!

    Jeffe touched on some of the things I have always loved about SFF… the biggest being a version of the political/region aspect. I love that a great author can deal with huge issues in the guise of entertainment. One of the biggest being race/bigotry. Nothing like hating on some good aliens as a metaphor for racism.

  11. I haven’t read those series mentioned, but I think some other series which I’ve enjoyed and read could be classified under it.

  12. Ok I read the 2 books in a day I love the whole story and the back drop in it I just hope that they find some kind of way to be able to touch in the 3 book she has some much happening with her life and the second books has shown that he love her why not be able to touch now that they are away from her home she can touch him