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Guest Post: What Inspired Me To Write Fantasy By Sandra Unerman

Today I’m hosting author Sandra Unerman as part of the blog tour for her new book, Spellhaven. In this guest post she talks about what inspired her to write fantasy.

I’ve loved reading fantasy since I was small, everything from Grimm’s Fairy Tales and retellings of Norse and Greek mythology onwards. My favourite reading nowadays still includes a wide range of fantasy, new and old.

The impulse to write stories of my own started when I was still at school although for many years, I was not happy enough with my efforts to finish them or let other people read them.

What lies behind the impulse is harder to pin down. I would say that I enjoy fantasy because it adds to life to a deeper and wider extent than other kinds of fiction. We all have to live in the real world, whatever that involves for each of us, but in fantasy, we can play beyond those limits, whether by taking tea with dragons or visiting the castle of Gormenghast. And in such play, we can gain insight into human nature, into society and the environment. I wouldn’t want to use fantasy to express a message in any simplistic way, so I don’t write allegory or use symbols with a fixed one to one meaning. But by writing stories set in a fantastic world, I can, for example, imagine what it would mean for humans if we had to deal with beings more powerful than ourselves. For me, this kind of story becomes more interesting if these beings are not straightforwardly good or evil, or even specially interested in humanity, but have lives of their own to lead. That way, my characters can be tested beyond what would be possible in a realistic novel.

At the same time, I hope to build up settings and situations that readers will enjoy and to bring them to places they can’t reach by plane. Over the years, I have enjoyed visiting different places on Earth but I’ve enjoyed even more the places brought alive for me in fantasy novels. Working out the details of Spellhaven, my island city ruled by magicians, gave me even more satisfaction than discovering Terry Pratchett’s Discworld or Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I hope my readers can share some of that pleasure.

About the Book


In the summer of 1914, Jane Fairchild, a young English musician, is kidnapped by magic and sent to Spellhaven, an island city ruled by magicians. Here, peace and prosperity are maintained with the assistance of Unseen Spirits bound to the service of the Lords Magician. The Spirits must be kept in good humour by the performance of all kinds of shows, dance, drama and music. Jane is one of many people kidnapped from the outside world and forced to contribute to these entertainments for a set period of service.


Only Jane is having none of it. She will not perform for her kidnapper, Lucian Palafox, but agrees to undertake an apprenticeship with another magician impresario, provided she is taught magic in return. Jane’s forays into magic lead her deeper within the mysteries of Spellhaven, her rivalry with Lucian escalates and the quarrels between them grow strong enough to shake the city to its foundations.


Genres: Fantasy, Adventure

Release Date:  August 17, 2017

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

Purchase Links:

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Meet the Author:


Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in SF and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. In 2016, these included stories in Three Drops from a Cauldron, the Midwinter issue and Aurora Wolf, the September issue, both available online. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.


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1 Comment

  1. Saph

    Thank you for having Sandra Unerman on you website today. I enjoyed her post on writing in the fantasy genre.

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