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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Author Insight: Books with Influence

What do you feel is the most widely influential book you’ve read in the last few years?

"Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, the first young adult novel with an LGBTQ protagonist to make the New York Times Bestseller list. It has helped to greatly expand the audience for the types of books I write." - Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight

"I think you can choose any of Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games as the most influential book to the industry, but the book that really had an influence on me personally was Janni Lee Simner's Bones of Faerie, from Winter 2009. Mostly because it was a faerie book that was exponentially better than mine. And since I've gotten the opportunity to meet and get to know Janni, she's a storyteller I really look up to and think about when I'm writing." - Aprilynne Pike, author of Life After Theft and Earthbound.

"I read The Big Sleep recently. I’d never read Chandler before, but I was blown away. His work is the touchstone for the boatloads of crime fiction and noir that followed him (and still to come), and somehow he reads more fresh, funny and stylish than any of his imitators. That’s good writing." - Lex Hrabe , co-author of Quarantine: The Loners

"Bird By Bird by Anne Lammot. It teaches you so much about writing, and about life." - Victoria Scott, author of The Collector.

"Influential is hard - I am a completely compulsive reader, so I read for pure pleasure and because I can't stop myself. I read trash, high literature, classics, novels, memoirs, history, the backs of my credit cards if desperate. But I never read things only because they're good for me. One of my favorite books of the last year though was the Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. I can't get enough minute details about life in the past." -  Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Surfacing.

"I honestly can’t name a single book as being more influential than all others. I read widely, and everything I take in leaves little footprints behind." - Teri Terry, author of Slated

"Probably The Hunger Games; if you’d said in the past decade, I’d have said Harry Potter and Twilight. These may seem obvious, but I remember when I started writing YA in the late ‘90s it was still this niche thing, with maybe two bookshelves shoved in the back corner of the children’s book section of bookstores. Now YA keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s great in that more exposure means more readers and more sales. But I also worry that now the focus is so much on titles that could crossover to adult readers that books that might appeal mostly to younger audiences don’t get as much push from publishers." - Jeff Sampson, author of  Ravage

"I'd say the whole Harry Potter series because it woke people up. Reluctant readers became enthusiastic readers. All of a sudden, it wasn't just bookworms who loved to read. Reading became cool again." - A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood

"I can't say any one book was the most influential, but Nicholas Sparks was the most influential author. He isn't afraid to write about things that people don't usually talk about. He writes what's real…and I love that." - Molly McAdams, author of Taking Chances

"Oh, boy, people are going to hate me for this answer, but I think it's true for YA: Twilight. I think it marked the start of new growth in that area and it provided context for people trying to understand the market. (Every YA writer is now asked, 'Is your book like Twilight?') Plus, I think it demonstrated that YA was a viable product, something that could make money for publishers. Without it, I doubt there'd be nearly as many of us able to write and sell YA, so I'm grateful." - Stacey Kade, author of The Ghost & the Goth and The Rules

"In terms of influencing me, Story by Robert McKee, a screenwriting guide, gave me the three-act structure and a powerful model for deepening conflict. In terms of influencing others, the books 50 Shades and Twilight were most influential on the market. Their success drove home to me the message that we authors are part of the entertainment industry, and that we compete for people’s free time against all other entertainments." - Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13. 

"If I had to choose the most widely influential of the last few years, I would probably choose The Hunger Games. That book has reached so many readers, on so many different media formats. It's brought new readers to YA in ways that some previous popular books weren't able to (mostly for gender reasons, which are wide and problematic). For me, personally, my favorite books--How I Live Now and Jellicoe Road--were the most influential. These books provide a writing standard for me to aspire to and illustrate the variety of style and content available in YA." - Kristin Halbrook, author of Nobody But Us. 

"That is a very big question and I think I’m probably not going to have a right-sized answer, but Twilight. It was a book that became a cultural nuisance, and growing up in the Harry Potter generation, it was fascinating to watch that happen." - Robyn Schneider, author of The Begining of Everything.

Stop by Thursday to find out what the rest of the authors feel are 
the most influential books of the last few years.

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