Michael Moorcock, in his book Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy, says that exotic landscapes are one of the hallmarks of epic fantasy. I think I've known that on a subconscious level, having read so many works in this genre. Certainly my epic fantasy, The Ban of Irsisri, is chock-full of exotic locales. (If all goes according to plan, The Ban of Irsisri will be published in mid-July by Cobble Publishing.) I thought readers might enjoy seeing some of the real-life locations that inspired the locales used in my novel.
This week: Center Hill Lake in Middle Tennessee. Center Hill Lake was formed by the construction of a dam by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Caney Fork River in 1948. If you check the photo on the Corps of Engineers website, you will see low, tree-covered hills. This was the inspiration for the scenes at the beginning of The Ban of Irsisri, where two rival tribes engage in battle, first on the water and then along the shore of a lake where the tribes live. One of the main characters, Enkinor, is positioned on top of one of the hills surrounding the lake and, seeing the approaching attack by his enemies, uses a primitive kind of hang-glider to turn the tide of battle. As far as landscapes go, Center Hill Lake is hardly exotic, but it served as an important "model" for the setting at the beginning of the novel.