Author Essay and Excerpt from Between, by Kerry Schafer
Reality is a strange and wonderful thing. We like to think of it as a constant defined, solid, and immutable but I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. It shifts and slides and sometimes does log rolls. We scratch our heads and wonder, “Did I just see what I think I saw, or am I drifting with the psychological tide?” Even though there is a general consensus about some of the major landmarks — gravity and mathematics and that sort of thing what is solid reality for you might well constitute a trip down the rabbit hole for me.
Around the time I started writing Between I also started a brand new job as a mental health crisis worker. “This job is like walking into an Escher painting,” my coworker told me on the very first day. He was right. And it wasn’t only our psychotic clients who made it so. We seemed to step into odd little pockets of reality on a regular basis. These experiences fed long conversations about reality, synchronicity, the nature of dreams, and the works of Escher, all of which elements found their way into Between. The dreamspheres, for example, were inspired by Escher’s drawing, Hand with Reflecting Sphere.
One of the things I love about writing fantasy is that it lends itself to exploring the realm of possibility. In some ways, it’s much like a return to childhood. I can sit down at my desk and play with ideas. If I wonder what it would be like to be thrust into an alternate reality, or to move in and out of dreams at will, my characters can experience that for me. Magic comes alive on the page, and wonder, and occasionally there be dragons.