Guest author – Tara Maya!

How To Enjoy Epic Fantasy

When I wrote The Unfinished Song series, I wanted to join two literary traditions: the young adult paranormal romance and the traditional epic fantasy. For readers familiar with both genres, the mix is a fun one, but what about readers who find traditional epic fantasy a little intimidating?

1.    Wander the map.

The map is there, filled with wondrous names and blank spaces, so you, the reader, can wander around in it. You don’t have to stop traveling where the book ends, but can meander your way around the world on your own, imagining what other nooks and crannies you might find, what creatures and dangers, what adventures and romance. Enjoy!

2.    Delight in deep time.

You don’t have to know the names of all the kings of yore. (See below.) But do reflect on the eons past that have gone into the creation of this world.

Pretend you are a visiting another country, a real one, and the guide is telling you about the various epochs as you gaze across the vine-covered ruins, and suddenly it hits you: These stones were built by people who lived thousands of years ago. Whoah.

That’s the feeling of wonder that fantasy seeks to recreate. Whoah….

3.    Don’t worry about bit players.

Epic fantasy has a lot of characters. A multitude of men. Gobs of goblins. Everflowing elves. A whole host of heroes and vast numbers of villains.  And serfs and slaves and peasants and thieves and assassins and gods and five nation’s worth of royal lineages with fifty dead kings each.

Reading name after name, with umlauts and apostrophes, you may panic.

Does the author actually expect me to remember all these people?


Here’s a secret. Even the author doesn’t remember half of them. The author is scratching his head wondering, “Did I already name an elf Galadrinel or was that Galafalel?

If these characters are not that important, why do they have names? Why must they be dragged through the scene at all?

The joy of epic fantasy is that it immerses you in a new world. Would you believe in a world that had only four people in it? No. Would you believe in a world that had only nameless masses in it? No. A fantasy world invites you to believe that it is like our world, filled with people who have names, histories and desires of their own which you will never know. You don’t need to know them right now… you’re with the hero, saving the world…but you know that they are there, and they are what makes the world worth saving.

4.    Re-read.

Of course this only works if you love the series, but one of the most enjoyable aspects of a fat, juicy epic is that when you re-read it later, you’re certain to pick up a lot of details and subtleties that you missed the first time around. If the writer is any good at all, you’ll find that he or she foreshadowed so much more about the themes and ending of the series than you realized the first time around.

5.    Relish your superpowers!

Like all fantasy, the heroes of epic fantasy have fantastic powers. Mighty thews and magic spells and unique destinies! To be truly epic in scope, the stakes usually involve the fate of the entire world—and the powers wielded by the protagonists and antagonists must be equal to that task—vast indeed. And that’s…freakin’ awesome.



Dindi can’t do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi’s clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.


Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn’t commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don’t kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father’s wars and his mother’s curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her… assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

About Tara

Tara Maya has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She’s pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies.

The first novel in The Unfinished Song series, Initiate, is available for free download on Amazon and other major retailers. You can follow Tara on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and newsletter.

About Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer writes romantic suspense, with or without paranormal elements like TUESDAY'S CHILD (2011) and now young adult books in various genres like DANGEROUS DESIGNS (2011). Writing stabilizes her in a life gone wild! The other stabilizers? Cheesecake and her four cats! Of course, she's dreaming to think she'll get a piece cheesecake once her four kids find out she's been baking!
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8 Responses to Guest author – Tara Maya!

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Welcome to MM, Tara. Your book sounds wonderful! I haven’t read epic fantasy in a long time, and warrior-dancers is a really cool idea.

  2. I love that cover! And I’m actually going to be writing a sort of fantasy, so this was a good post for me to read!
    Lori Brighton`s last blog was …Interview and Giveaway!

  3. Tara Maya says:

    Thank you, Edie! Holla at ya girl if you want a free review copy. 😉

    Lori, I love your romances and Urban Fantasy, so it’s exciting to see you’ll be delving into some epic fantasy! If you can tell us, what’s your story going to be about?

  4. The first epic fantasy I ever read was “The Lion of Macedon” by David Gemmell. Or wait… maybe I had read epic fantasy before then. The great classic epics “Iliad” (about the Trojan War) and “Odyssee” are epic fantasy fiction, I think – and they’re awesome.

  5. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Tara, welcome to Magical Musings! Thanks so much for being my guest. 🙂

    I adore fantasy. It’s only one of the genres that I write at this time, but its such fun to do the world building!

    Love your cover too!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Knock, Knock… book 5 of the Psychic Visions series is on SALE now!

  6. marilynbrant says:

    So glad to have you visiting us today on MM, Tara!!
    Loved learning a little more about your novel and the mix of YA paranormal romance and epic fantasy — I’m intrigued :). Wishing you all the best with The Unfinished Song series!
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …Celebrating ‘Undressing Mr. Darcy’ and a Great Giveaway!

  7. Wonderful post, Tara, and so lovely to have you here at Magical Musings. All the best with your great-sounding series. I love fantasy, so I’ll definitely put this on my TBR pile!
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Mistress of the Wind Publication Date Moved Forward

  8. John Hoddy says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Tara. Epic fantasy is as old as humanity, and has been written down from the beginnings of literacy, starting with tales of gods and goddesses, continuing through epics like Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Oddessy, Beowulf, the Norse Eddas, and much, much more. If the past is any indication, epic fantasy will still be around and being written and enjoyed long after much of contemporary literature has faded from memory. It is a privilege to join such a tradition, be it as a writer, as a reader, or both.

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