Monday, September 12, 2016

Other Authors…and their influence on me!

So one of the things that went around recently was a “name 7 authors who influenced you.” I decided that rather than do it on FB, I’d do it here instead.

  1. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – I first read the Dragonlance Chronicles in the 5th grade. Now, 5th grade was one of those formative years for me. I had an amazing teacher who had a passion for literature (we put on Shakespeare’s A MidSummer Night’s Dream, and he would leap on to his desk reciting The Jaborwocky!) but it was also the year my father spent in Korea. So it was a year that had a lot of changes. One of the things I most admire about Weis and Hickman’s writing is their ability to make you care for the characters. From the moment of introduction, I felt a connection to the characters and wanted to follow their adventures. To this day, they still hold the record as the only book I have ever thrown across the room at the wall – when one of the characters died. And I still come to tears when I reread that scene.
  2. Anne McCaffrey – my first introduction to Pern came through the Harper Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums). From there I devoured everything in that series I could find. And then expanded into her other novels – the Crystal Singer trilogy still being one of my favorite non-Pern series. I think what I love the best about McCaffrey’s work is that it doesn’t fit genre niches very well. I know I read the Pern stuff as Fantasy for years before I realized it was probably a truly SF series. 
  3. The Narnia Series by CS Lewis – Right, so I can’t ignore this series as it was in all honesty my introduction to the genre of SF and Fantasy. I had to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for school in the 4th grade. I loved it so much that I checked out from our school library the rest of the books and from there got introduced to The Black Cauldron as well. 
  4. “Carolyn Keene” and Julie Campbell/“Kathryn Kenny” – ie the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden Mysteries. I was a huge fan of these two mystery series. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were very much the brave and impulsive teenager that I always wanted to be. Not that I ever was. It wasn’t until YEARS later that I found out the books were all ghost written by a variety of authors. I think that was one of my first moments of “disillusionment” at the world of writing. 
  5. Ray Bradbury – I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Bradbury at DragonCon before he passed and to this day he is one of the authors I aspire to be when it comes to fans. He would sign every book possible even as he was walking out to the car to get to the airport. He talked to every person who walked about to his table. Of course, his stories are influential as well, but I think it was his way of interacting with the fans – he always seemed truly thrilled to interact with someone - that I admired most.
  6. “The Big 3” (Star Wars) – Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston. Heir to the Empire came out when I was still in High School. I don’t know if I stole it from my Parents or if I got it as a gift but I remember devouring it and waiting impatiently for the next two to come out. Zahn managed to capture the essence of the heroes for me – I could hear Harrison’s voice in the words that Han Solo spoke; I could see the looks on Leia’s face when she talked to him. He captured the feel of the movie and put it into words. Stackpole and Allston then introduced me to a whole new world of characters in the Rogue Squadron. Characters with personality and history and while a lot of them were never part of the movies, you felt that they could have been. They captured that “Star Wars” feel in their writing. And while it was there SW books that introduced me to them, I think it is some of their non – SW stuff that has been most influential. Zahn writes amazing SF Mysteries – where by the time you finish the story you can go back and see where all the clues were. Stackpole’s fantasy worlds are rich and detailed – and like no one else’s. And Aaron Allston – Aaron’s sense of humor comes through in everything I’ve ever read.  And it this point, more than anything, I consider them friends as well as influences.
  7. The Con Writers – there are a bunch of writers who I met because I run conventions. And whether it’s their stories or just their personalities or their way of doing everything (Gail Martin!), I have found myself influenced by them over the years. So here’s a quick list:
    • Val Griswold-Ford – bought my very first story!
    • Michael Ventrella – invited me to write in his world!
    • Janine Spendlove - overworked mom, marine and inspiration!  And invited me to the Athena's Daughters Anthology which was an amazing experience!
    • Gail Martin – OMG, she is so organized, and writes, and does social media and does so many other things…
    • Misty Massey – who is a pirate at heart, (yarrgh!) and unfailingly kind.
    • Faith Hunter and David Coe – Two authors whose works I admire but more than that they “pass it on” – incredibly encouraging to new authors and always willing to share via blog posts or panels writing advice.
    • Edmund Shubert, Stuart Jaffe, Stephen Mark Rainey – “con authors” who are great panelists and great authors as well as always encouraging to new authors. Stuart to this day asks me where I am on my novel every con he sees me
  8. I know I’m supposed to stop at 7 but here are a few more influences. Looking around my bookshelves, they are filled with lots of books that in same way influenced my writing.
    • Kathryn Kurtz – her ability to merge history and fantasy is amazing.
    • Niomi Novak - her alternate history is a wonderful take on dragons!
    • Jack L. Chalker and Joel Rosenberg – I love their takes on taking normal folks to new worlds.
    • Simon Hawke – Simon’s series were so much fun and a light hearted take on Fantasy and SF.
    • Mercedes Lackey – Valdemar is one of my favorite worlds to visit regularly. She was also one of the first authors who wrote about LGBT characters in way that made it seem like it was just part of the world and I loved that! 
    • Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher – author’s whose storylines cross from book to book and whose series’ I eagerly anticipate(d) each new volume. 
    • JRR Tolkien – yeah… well, come on.

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