Reality vs. Fluff

In novels, how much realism is too much? Do people read to escape, to learn something, or to feel something? I’ve learned over the years that it’s all three. Some people read to escape and don’t care about historical accuracy. More than that, however, my readers do, in fact, read to escape AND to learn something. As an author, I’d better have my historical facts straight and I have to be very careful on how much liberty I take in ‘re-writing’ history. In fact, I really don’t.  History is established and I don’t change anything.  My readers are very well-read and smart; they’ll call me out on it!

A few things, however, that I will take liberties with – fictional castles. Fictional families. Fictional battles. That’s really about it. Everything else is real and I do my best to heavily research whatever I’m writing about so I know how much liberty to take – or not to take.

Now, here’s another question – the reality of Medieval life was bleak. There were deaths in childbirth, disease, gross bodily mishaps, brutal warlords, etc. In “The Dark Lord”, Jax de Velt put men on spikes as both threat and promise. He was trying to build the most brutal reputation possible, and he did. He killed men, women, and children. Brutal? Absolutely. It was the way of the lawless world back then. Is it too much? I didn’t think so. It was reality. But this brutal man changed when he fell in love. It broadened his horizons and made him understand that life is precious. That was the message of the novel. People either loved it or hated it. Reviews ran the gauntlet of excellent, good, fair, bad, and back again.  I loved that the novel brought about so much emotion. If I had it to write The Dark Lord all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I will always write novels that are real, gritty, sometimes off-kilter, controversial, sweet, loving, romantic, and passionate. There is sex but it is not erotica.  I don’t believe in erotica – not that I’m against it because it’s totally fine for other authors, but not for me. I’m a story-line gal.  Take the sex out of any of my novels and the story stands alone, strong and proud.   My characters don’t need sex to have a great relationship.

What’s on the horizon for me as far as stories go? Lots of out-of-the-box things – an undead knight, a gay knight, and other things you will not have read about previously.  As with all of my books, keep an open mind. If you don’t want to read about a gay knight or an undead knight, then please don’t buy the book.  I will be very clear what the novel is about so there is no guessing. I always have to shake my head at people who buy a book that clearly states its very long, or full of gore,  and then write a review stating the book was too long or too full of gore…. huh?…. well, that’s okay, too, I guess. I welcome all opinions and I love reading them.  As I’ve stated so many times, I love ALL of my readers, whether or not they love me. I’m just grateful they gave me a try.

So the thought for the day:  in my world, if it’s a contest between reality and fluff, reality wins every time.  It was a real world in Medieval Times, and I like to tell you about it.

10 Comments

  1. liloshadow

    I throughly enjoy paranormal. So the undead knight sounds very exciting. The gay knight also excites me. Its a very brave thing to write about…so kudos Kathryn. I have read some gay romance so I wont be that different of a thing for me to dig into. But I see it all as one thing…love is love. Gay or straight.

  2. rozzie

    Both books the undead and the gay knight sound so interesting!!! Yes, it might alienate some but no matter what some will enjoy reading your works. I think it is a brave endeavor to break away from your standard giving us another book and characters to love despite the genre your loyal followers will read it no matter the content!!!

    1. lindam

      I’m old and cranky so i will wait to read the gay knight book…. i know your work K… so I know it will be done with taste, and sass, I haven’t ever read anything of yours that I didn’t like….. so I wait.

      1. kathryn LeVeque (Post author)

        No worries. Everything I write can’t always be your taste, so no worries at all. Besides… that book is a loooonnnnggg way off….

  3. KimR

    I first came across your novels when I realized that I had collect quite a few for free. I became curious and started reading them and have been following your work since then. First, I think that people give your books reviews in exchange for getting them for free so they read them even if it’s not their thing – so to speak. As a reviewer, I have encountered a few “types” of fellow reviewers that are a part of the dynamic.
    My type – I love to read so I am very open to creativity if the writer writes well.
    The smart type – who rip a book apart for facts even though they are reading a fictitious book.
    The important type – who feel like they are professional critics and committed to what they thing would be better for the writer.
    The nervous type – who feel like their reviews won’t stand out if they are not analytical.
    The scandalous type – who like to draw attention away from the book and focus it on themselves by being totally scandalous.
    You can’t please them all.
    Write your stories. I realize that the moment you went public about becoming a full-time writer that you gained as much negative attention as you did positive. But remember that you are still dealing with a lot of emotional types. So ultimately you are going to have to toughen up. I follow one writer who just blogged today that she stopped reading reviews because of the emotional roller coaster it can become.

    1. kathryn LeVeque (Post author)

      Amen, sister. You put it perfectly. I’ve pretty much stopped reading reviews, too, because it’s a trap in the beginning – you start questioning your own writing. Did I make a mistake? Should I have made the heroine sweeter? The hero stronger? You get the picture. But I quickly realized that if I take everything reviewers say literally, I’ll make myself crazy. So… I read the reviews sometimes, but mostly, I just focus on writing and staying true to my vision of my work. I’m still learning how to be ‘tough’. It’s a process, but one I hope to master. Thank you for your wonderful comment!!

    2. liloshadow

      Wow, I have to agree with Kathryn. That was a good insightful comment, especially about the type of reviewers.
      I have to say KimR I am your type! lm always open to the creativity as long as its written in a way to make me feel something. I cant imagine being an author and dealing with the whirwind of everyones emotions about a story.

  4. scotswoman

    What is the undead knight about? Sounds interesting!

    1. kathryn LeVeque (Post author)

      Keeping it under wraps for now to public eyes. I’ll keep you posted but I’m sure you’ll love it!

    2. lindam

      Okay…. undead knight, am I missing something…. I agree with scotswoman, it sounds very interesting….. spill

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