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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author Insight: Important Influences

What book or author has most influenced your writing and/or storytelling style?

"I was much more influenced by film director and screenwriter John Waters than any specific book or author. His irreverently profane, over-the-top style really resonated with my perennially snarky voice." - Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen.

"I am such an eclectic reader that I can’t point to just one author or book. That said, I love anything high-concept and authors that play with point of view and structure." - Lenore Appelhans, author of Level 2. 

"The influence question is such a tricky one. The temptation, I think, is to just throw out the names of your favorite writers in the hopes that it’s true, that their style shaped yours. But if I look at my writing objectively I’d probably say that the books that had the greatest effect on me were the books I read when I was young. Rebecca, I believe, is a major influence, as is Great Expectations and The Magus. I read all three when I was fourteen or fifteen and have never been able to shake their spell. I think I’m drawn most deeply to stories that are heavy on mood and atmospherics, that are sly and seductive, that are spooky and have a fairy tale quality—books that get under your skin, in other words." - Lili Peloquin, author of The Innocents

"Style is a many-headed beast, and it's difficult for me to narrow things that far, but I'll try. If I had to choose just one book, I guess it would be A Wrinkle In Time. I reread it recently and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as when I was young, but my memory of that first experience--the pulse-pounding excitement combined with what I then considered philosophical insights of the highest order--is still lodged in my mind. I can see my own work as an effort to produce something capable of achieving such a strong effect on a reader." 
- Steven Arntson, author of The Wrap-Up List.

"When you're writing verse, I think it's important to find your own style, and I've worked hard to do that. However, Sonya Sones is an author I've admired for a long time and I think her work has influenced my writing more than any other author. She is one talented poet and storyteller." - Lisa Schroeder, author of Falling for You

"I was influenced enormously by Raymond Carver. While nobody would compare my work to his (I’m often described as a 'funny and heartbreaking YA' author), I was powerfully influenced by the emotion in his books, and the restraint with which he told his stories. You might see echoes of his influence in my book Since You Left Me, where you can be laughing one moment, and then something very sad and shocking happens." - Allen Zadoff, author of Since You Left Me. 

"All the stories I’ve loved have merged in my mind and created a deep well from which to draw. So I can’t name one writer or one book." - Pamela Mingle, author of Kissing Shakespeare.

"Probably The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. Other than the Canadian vampire-cop drama Forever Knight (Vampires! Cops! Toronto!), it was my first real exposure to the idea of paranormal creatures wrestling with their otherworldliness and the human lives they had left behind." - Kathleen Peacock, author of Hemlock.

"Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar. As a reader, I am in love with her writing, her characters, her setting...just everything. As a writer, I've dissected that book to find out what makes it so perfect. Not sure I ever figured it out, but that book is my road map for YA." - Trish Doller, author of Something Like Normal

"Terry Pratchett, the absolute master of character-driven comedy. As a comic writer, I'm in awe of his ability to make the reader cry with both laughter and emotion within the same book - sometimes within the same sentence." - Helen Keeble, autor of Fang Girl

"I can honestly say that this changes with time. My early influences were all science fiction, fantasy, and horror--people like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. I read incessantly, though, and often find myself admiring the skills of other authors, and I begin to aspire to increase my own skills in those areas. Most recently, I loved and adored Neil Gaiman's storytelling style in The Graveyard Book, the fresh and unique elements of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the world-building in Scott Westerfield's Leviathan trilogy, and the subject matter and the consistency of the narrative non-fiction voice in Cheryl Strayed's Wild." - Susan Vaught, author of Freaks Like Us

Come back Thursday to learn which books and writers helped shape the writing style of the rest of the authors. 

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