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  • Writer's picturej patricia anderson

DoT! Genre and influences?

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

DoT is DAUGHTERS OF TITH, my first...High? Epic? Fantasy novel! I originally thought of it as Epic Fantasy--for years--because it's LONG and the background scale is epic. The series (CotT--CHILDREN OF THE TREES) is definitely epic in scale and stakes. But DoT itself focuses on five sisters and their personal struggles with each other, with the circumstances of their births, with purpose, etc. The outcome of their decisions and actions will have epic consequences, but it really is about them--hence the title! So...DoT is possibly less epic on the surface than many other large fantasy novels.

Then I wondered if it was "High Fantasy". I actually asked Twitter at one point how they would define "High Fantasy" and the answers I got differed so much it made me more confused.

I looked at lists of books categorised in both genres to see if that would help, and they mostly overlap...

So DoT is High/Epic Fantasy, but I think I will label it High for now. Beta readers and early readers have been split or declined to comment. Maybe one day it will have enough readers for people to argue about it. Then perhaps there will be a consensus.

Influences are interesting because DoT was conceived of over many...many years, while reading an insane number of books and consuming a ton of other media. It's one of the reasons "comps" (comparable titles) are so difficult.

Its major influences start with books published in the 80s and through the 90s because that's what I was reading when I built the frame of it.

My Fantasy reading journey starts with The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, the first book of which ("Dealing with Dragons") was the first I took from the library on my own at age 6. After that the biggest one was the Redwall series (by Brian Jacques), interspersed with notable works like His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, "The Blue Sword" and "The Hero and the Crown" by Robin McKinley, "The Sight" by David Clement-Davies, The Dragon Quartet series by Marjorie B. Kellogg, "Hexwood" by Diana Wynne Jones, The Firekeeper Saga series by Jane Lindskold, and a lot more books Tor was publishing by women authors at the time... It might sound ridiculous to name all of these, but when I reread them I still see them in DoT.

After/during Redwall I got into The Wheel of Time--as a lot of 11-year-olds did (why did everyone start this at 11? Is this age-bias because I mostly know people my age? HA). I credit my failed attempts to get into The Lord of the Rings with preparing me to get through the beginning of "The Eye of the World"...because I struggled lol. I still haven't managed to read LotR but I did manage to read all of WoT!

WoT is definitely in CotT, even though they're very different. It was the biggest thing I had read at that age, when CotT was really forming, and the thing with the most women characters. People can complain about the women in WoT--and they have a very provable point--and we can say there were lots of better books out at the time centering women (there definitely were), but if you were an 11yo reading Fantasy without intention or direction, WoT was the grandest thing everyone handed you that was full of women being awesome (Nynaeve is the best character. If you hated her as a kid, I'd almost say reread it).

Later I went on to discover N.K. Jemisin, Guy Gavriel Kay, "The Forgotten Beasts of Eld" by Patricia A. McKillip (wow), and a plethora of more recent Fantasy books by diverse authors. I also branched into reading Science Fiction and found people like Ursula K. Le Guin, Ann Leckie, and Octavia E. Butler (who is, *gasp*, my favourite author--I thought it was impossible to pick just one until I read her work). DoT had formed its main story and world long before these, but they went into fine-tuning everything about it. As did many books in a variety of other genres.

(Edited to add: I also grew up on anime and I don't know how I forgot to mention it here. DBZ is a big one I see in DoT, but don't worry, the book is long for other reasons: I promise no one powers up for 300 pages.)

(Edited again to add: I feel like I'd be remiss not to mention the Watership Down movie (that my parents let me borrow from the library every week for years when I was 6+, which is NOT for children but was definitely a formative experience for me and with which I scarred my little brother for life HAHA) and The Last Unicorn movie (the book is also fabulous and distinct--you should consume both).)

I mention this extended list of things because DoT is really the book of my life. They are all in it. AND they are all amazing. If they're outside your reading/consuming age at the moment, it sounds like you now have a list of great holiday/birthday gifts for the younger people you know...

I find influences interesting because...I know what influenced DoT/CotT in my mind, but I can't say what readers will see. I can say DoT is Redwall x WoT (modernised) + GGK + a lot of 80s/90s/00s Fantasy + anime, and maybe no one else will see that. I doubt anyone will read DoT and see Redwall! Maybe one day I'll share the rather embarrassing link HAHAHA. Gotta keep some things close to my chest :P.

I'll keep that and the Avatar story, I think. For now, anyway haha.

I also want to say DoT is just for Fantasy fans, but that's pretty useless. You should read it one day and let me know if you can better categorise it! :).

For now I'll say: if your reading journey was similar you might want to add DoT on Goodreads! It comes out in May 2023.

Also Land Side/Water Side was conceived of before I knew Namibia basically had their intersection in the Skeleton Coast. But wow, when I found out this was real *mind blown*.

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