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Today, I am featuring a guest blog by Tracey Alley, author of Erich’s Plea. She’s reflecting on the days before the World Wide Web and MP3 (anyone else remember those? Bueller?) and how all the new technology out there inspires her to write fantasy. Enjoy! 

I am a child of the 80’s born in August of 1970. I was saw the birth of the era of big hair metal bands, hard rock ballads, TV sitcoms like M*A*S*H, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Cosby Show. I saw the death of glam rock and the birth of a cartoon craze called The Smurfs. I remember the first VCR players and how rich I felt when my Mum finally caved in and bought us one. I remember doing baby-sitting and taking in ironing from several local women and earning nearly $20 a week, which was a small fortune in those days. I remember spending most of my hard earned money on albums [vinyl] by bands like INXS, Kiss, Wham, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, and The Rolling Stones.

I also saw the rebirth of interest in a nerdy little role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. I fell in love with role-playing and especially D & D right from the start. Even as a small child I had always possessed a great imagination fuelled by my mother’s stories about elves, fairies, dragons, gnomes and dwarves – all of which lived in our back garden. Mum made up hundreds of stories, all of them fantasy based and with a beautiful childlike innocence about them. I also fell in love with words from a very, very early age. I can remember reading Shakespeare as a child and being enchanted by the way he used words, even if I couldn’t really follow the storylines ☺

I’ve seen many things change, dramatically, over the scant decades I’ve been on the planet. None more so than in the fields of art, music, books, movies and TV. As a child when I was taken to the Art Gallery by my parents I saw the classics [or reproductions of them anyway], like Monet, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Rembrandt, Renoir, the list goes on and on. It has been our generation that has given birth to Modern Art as we know it today – something that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes grotesque and other times virtually impossible to understand. I’ve seen the change from VCR’s to DVD’s, albums to CD’s, computers go from the state of the art Commodore 64 [yes I owned one], to unbelievable pieces of machinery that can incredible things at the touch of a button.

My generation witnessed the birth of the World Wide Web, a tool I could not be without any more. We saw reality television move from the nightly news into glossy productions that cover a huge range of topics from Cops to Full Metal Jousting, Big Brother to talent shows like The Voice and game shows that offer million dollar prizes. I have to admit many of the things that the younger generation take for granted, like iPod’s and 3D movies, were not even pipe dreams when I was their age. It’s been a wild roller coaster ride of exploding knowledge and technology.

And alongside all of these high tech changes has been the growing interest in role-playing games like D & D. I started playing when I was quite young and still play on a regular basis today. I’ve seen a lot more books and movies based solely on fantasy become wildly popular, including classics like The Lord of The Rings series. Personally I love role-playing in fantasy realms. It’s a relatively simple premise with simple rules yet it has an enormous scope for imagination and sheer fun. It’s true that the Dungeons & Dragons I play today has changed a lot from the more simple version I played in my 20’s but the fun of it has not changed.

That’s the main reason I write fantasy novels today. I have so many different stories in my head that I’d like to tell, all of them based in fantasy worlds where I get to make up all the rules. My enormous imagination can run free in a fantasy setting such as Kaynos, the world I’ve created for my fantasy novels. It’s also the reason I tend to read so much fantasy. As a writer and as a reader in the fantasy realm I can be anyone or anything from a warrior to a magician, an elf to a dragon, a hero or a villain and all of it takes me back to a simpler time when we had to amuse ourselves as children and didn’t have all the fancy computer games that are available today.

I’m not knocking the great strides forward that have been made in technology, particularly entertainment technology. I’ve got a Wii and an X-Box, an MP3 player and a smart phone. I use digital camera and have a HD TV. All of these things are great and I couldn’t imagine life without them now. It’s just nice, every now and then, to strip everything back to pure imagination. Sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal books, TV shows, games and movies are a way to bask in an imaginary world and forget about the day’s trouble and strife.

If you’re already a fan then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t yet given pure imagination a try yet why not start now? You might be very surprised at how liberating it can feel.