Influential authors meme

I got tagged on a couple of writer-related memes going around Facebook. I don’t do memes per se, including tagging people on them, as I’ve said before. But I will absolutely use them as an excuse to write up something here on this blog! First, there’s the Influential Authors meme, on which I got tagged by Shawna Reppert.

From her post:

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. List 15 authors (poets included) who have influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can identify in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing the authors my friends choose.

Let’s do this thing. These are not in any particular order.

  1. Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Julie Czerneda
  4. Tanya Huff
  5. Doranna Durgin
  6. Anne McCaffrey
  7. Naomi Novik
  8. Rachel Caine
  9. Susanna Kearsley
  10. Wendy and Richard Pini
  11. A.C. Crispin
  12. Patricia Briggs
  13. Mercedes Lackey
  14. Terry Brooks
  15. Esther Friesner

And I know I am probably fudging on things to list the Pinis here, given that Elfquest is a comic book series, not a book series. But I take the liberty of including them because a) as I’ve mentioned before on this site, they are a huge influence on my perceptions of what elves ought to be like in my stories, and b) if you wanna really get technical, there are Elfquest stories in book form, so there. I do have all the Blood of Ten Chiefs anthologies, as well as the novelizations of the first three graphic novels!

Tolkien is on this list for reasons which are similarly obvious to anybody who knows anything about my personal history as a reader as well as a writer; noting him among my influences for worldbuilding as well as language geekery. Likewise Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, who is a formative influence on what I like in leading men in a story, and the level of romance and suspense I want.

Anne McCaffrey’s influence on me cannot be understated–I did, after all, spend years in Pern fandom, both offline and online. And I still have a lot of Pern fanfic on my hard drive, as well as all my surviving roleplay logs from PernMUSH. All that time I put in playing F’hlan, bronze Tzornth’s rider, and his daughter Mehlani was character practice, you guys!

Julie Czerneda and Tanya Huff are both on this list on general “I want to write like them when I grow up” grounds. I love Czerneda’s worldbuilding and rich portrayals of alien species. And Huff’s here because a) she is awesome, b) she’s a fellow Great Big Sea fan and HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THAT, and c) she was my initial introduction to how you can have queer people in a story and not have the fact that they are queer be full of OHNOEZ DRAMA!

That said, Lackey is on this list because she actually beat Huff to the punch in alerting me that you can, in fact, have queer people in a story. Shoutout to all my fellow readers of my generation who were gutted by Vanyel. Second shoutout to all my MUSH-playing pals who wanted to get a Valdemar MUSH going, and could not.

Doranna Durgin is here because before she wrote paranormal romance, she wrote a lot of fantasy, and her earliest fantasies are among my favorite of her books. Her urban fantasy as well. To this day her A Feral Darkness ranks very, very high on the list of pinnacles to which I aspire when I wing out urban fantasy of my own.

Novik is here because good lord I love me some Temeraire, and in particular I love her handling of the dragons in her world as characters in their own right. I love her dragons even more than I loved the dragons in the Pern books. She is a glorious example of how to write non-humanoid characters.

Rachel Caine is on this list because I would gleefully sacrifice a few pounds of flesh to gain her ability at pacing.

Kearsley is kind of an extension of the influence of Michaels/Peters. I deeply admire Kearsley’s pacing, though hers is much different from Caine’s; while Caine pretty much sets a plotline on fire right out of the gate, Kearsley takes more time and gives you a lot more atmosphere. I love Kearsley’s way with building atmosphere, as well as her skill at setting up relationships that eventually charm my socks off. The Shadowy Horses, I am looking straight at you.

A.C. Crispin, gods rest her, is here because her glorious Han Solo backstory trilogy, even if it’s relegated to non-canon status along with the rest of the Star Wars EU, was everything I ever wanted in Han Solo backstory. The new forthcoming movie is going to have a REAL high bar to clear to top her stories, I’m just sayin’.

Patricia Briggs is here for reasons very similar to Durgin–in that I found her before she turned to urban fantasy and in many ways I actually prefer her earlier fantasy novels. What I like about her in particular is how she set up secondary world fantasies that nonetheless were very relatable to contemporary eyes. She’s arguably some of the influence on how I wrote the Rebels of Adalonia books.

Terry Brooks has to get props for being some of the earliest high fantasy I ever read, since I found him at the same era of my childhood when I found Tolkien. And some of my earliest surviving writing has a lot more to do with Brooks than Tolkien! And unlike a few other high fantasy authors of the era (e.g., Eddings), I actually still periodically hunt down Brooks novels I haven’t read yet. I’m still working my way through his setup of the backstory for the Shannara world.

Last but not least, Esther Friesner is here as another early influence on my urban fantasy and in particular on my portrayal of elves. In particular, her books New York by Knight and Elf Defense had early resonance on my budding writing brain!


So there ya go. As I said, I don’t usually tag people on these things, but if you’re a fellow writer and you want to play too, go for it! And drop a link in the comments to your own post, so anybody who finds mine can find yours.

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