I love to read. There’s something magical about picking up a book and getting totally lost in a story other than your own; whether it’s a fictional tale in a fair off land with knights and dragons, something more realistic set in modern day New York or even a non-fictional biographical story, I like to lose myself for a while in someone else’s world.
But what if you actually could get lost?
Imagine the pages of a book to be a portal allowing readers to step out of their own reality and into that of the author…would you, if you could? I’m sure more than one person would jump at the chance to explore Discworld, Earthsea, Oz and Fantasia or roam the halls of Hogwarts before taking tea in a Hobbit House, playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts (mind your head!) or perhaps visiting Ynys Haf for welsh cakes before the Faraway tree moved on again and it was time to return to bed.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose? So many realities have escaped the imagination of authors that it’s hard to decide on just one, and of course it’s worth remembering that each will have their ups and downs much like our own. Sure there may be magic or life altering technology, but outside of the main protagonist what is life like for the everyday citizen of the world you’re jumping to? Imagine choosing the Harry Potter universe and ending up as a muggle, or Middle Earth but oops, you’re an orc! Then there are the worlds I’d rather not explore, like Westoros which is going to run out of men at the rate they’re dying in wars or famine as a result of the wars. I’ll be staying clear of Panem too thank you very much, because, let’s be honest, compared to them our world is a paradise!
I think, were I to choose just one world it would be that of Ynys Haf, as brought to life by the amazing Jenny Sullivan. I loved this series as a kid; even more so after emailing Jenny and receiving not just one but a whole host of replies, the beginning of a not quite friendship which continues to this day. Jenny shaped the way I write emails (replying in-between the lines of the previous reply in a different colour) and always encouraged my writing. How amazing to be the type of author who sits and replies to fans, not just once, but for 13 years!
I grew up with Tanith (the heroin of most of Jenny’s books), reading her first story at around the age of 12 when the character turned 13. She is a witch, who learns to shape shift and travel between our reality and that of Ynys Haf (the Island of Summer), which is basically Wales but hundreds of years ago when magic was still commonplace. I’d choose this reality because it offers everything; magic, time travel, experiencing flight in the shape of an eagle and exploring the sea by becoming a dolphin, but at the same time if you get a craving for diet coke and KFC you can pop back through a time door! You wouldn’t have to choose between the magical realm and the one you know, wouldn’t have to leave family and friends. Seems like the best of both worlds to me, and that’s the one I’d choose!