All fiction is fantasy

An excerpt from an interview Voicu Mihnea Simandan did with me.

VMS: But why (do you write) fantasy?

All fiction is fantasy – by definition. It’s ALL lies.But some truths are best told when wrapped in a layer of sweetener, a layer of true fantasy and made-up-ness, and the lessons are learned without the student being aware that they are being taught.

I believe fantasy – the accepted definition of it – plays a huge part in shaping our children’s minds, and hearts, and spirits, and ethics. I grew up on the world’s original savage fairy tales, and they taught me everything, they made me into who I am today. I can offer my own fantasy writing to the young readers of this world and hope that they get something as valuable out of that as I got out of my own immersion into fantasy when I was a child.

VMS: We were both born “on the banks of the Danube.” When NATO started bombing Yugoslavia in 1999, you took it upon yourself to let the world know “the truth” and, the same year, you published ‘Letters from the Fire’. More than a decade after these events, what is your current position on the breakup of Yugoslavia?

AA: It still hurts to look at a modern atlas and see the land of my birth dismembered into so many small and dysfunctional parts. The last time I was there, I went to the banks of my river and mourned the bridges that were gone, the bridges that spanned the river of my childhood, which my young nieces will now never know or remember.

But in some ways that is only a metaphor, a symbol, and what I was mourning was the loss of something far bigger and probably irreplaceable. The loss of my grandfather’s unshakable ideals (“Europe will never let this happen!” he said, and believed it to the day he died – and I am just as glad that he never lived to see the legacy of what Europe not only permitted but encouraged to happen in the land that used to be known as Yugoslavia.); the loss of a state of mind; the loss of an idea sacrificed to the ambitions of outside empires who seized the chance to pursue their own interests in the region no matter what the costs on the ground were to the people who lived there.

Full interview here .

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