5 Authors who have Inspired my Writing
It may come to no surprise that I favor the horror genre, but this does not mean that all of my favorite authors have been in horror.
Although a few may have inspired me, not all of them made it to my top five. I feel that despite whatever genre I write in, it is advantageous to read in every genre. There are things in which other authors dwell magnificently in, that I do not, and yet reading in that genre from time to time helps me. Romance, for instance, allows me to develop relationship aspects in my stories.
Having said that, my top five influential authors did not write in the Romance genre, however, were still able to add a bit of romance.
- David Gemmell
The first David Gemmell book I ever read was Ghost King, and I must have been about 12 years old. My uncle had just passed away and in attempts to fill that void, I read his collection of books that he kept in his office. Gemmell wrote historical and heroic fantasy books. It probably wasn’t the most age appropriate selection of books, but it inspired me to start thinking outside the box in the realm of writing.
From magic teleportation stones, to an army coming back from the dead to finish off a war, he had me ignoring my homework because I was so infatuated with the characters he wrote. I knew back then that I wanted to be a writer, to develop worlds and characters that almost became part of my family. I went on to read Gemmell’s entire Drenai Tales collection and Druss the Legend was my favorite.
I used to love how he would implement philosophy, chivalry, and righteousness in all of his scenes. Gemmell always had something to teach with his stories and it truly inspired deep thinking and philosophy in a young Killian’s heart.
“Nothing of real worth can ever be bought. Love, friendship, honour, valour, respect. All these things have to be earned.”
― David Gemmell, Shield of Thunder
As a child, I used to try and mimic his style of writing, creating war heroes, crafting fake battles, and paying close attention to details of weaponry and names of fabricated cities-just like he did. Even though my genre is different, I still try to create meaningful characters that have in depth backstory, and although not war heroes (at least not yet) I still try to create characters that are relatable and have deep messages that speak to me.
One of my most favorite quotes from Gemmell is:
“I may be stupid, as you say, to believe in honour and friendship and loyalty without price. But these are virtues to be cherished, for without them we are no more than beasts roaming the land.”
― David Gemmell, Shield of Thunder
2. Piers Anthony
Without a doubt, The Incarnations of Immortality books remain to be one of my most favorite book series of all time. I used to imagine myself in the role of Death, or of Gaia. Even the incarnation of War and Fate at times. Oh, and let me not forget the incarnation of evil, Satan! He pulled me into a world that I wished existed. To imagine that we could take upon certain immortal roles after we die is admittedly still a wish I have, thanks to Piers Anthony.
He made me realize that I enjoy reading about death and life after death with a certain touch of amusement. We are all on our way to the inevitable so why not create stories of it and make life a bit more bearable? Because of his books, a character I created, Ambrose, is a reaper who visits Florida to collect a soul and becomes smitten with the human experience. His time on Earth ends up being much longer than planned.
Being a Floridian himself, Piers Anthony also wrote a series called Xanth, where a magical world set in Florida exists. I myself was born and raised in Florida and absolutely fell in love with his books. Since then, I like to create magical worlds within already existing places. The first book in my series Reapers of the Veil starts off in the Florida Keys. I can only thank Piers Anthony for that inspiration.
3. Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb has probably inspired me to write my next series. Even though I picked up Assassin’s Apprentice so many years ago (I honestly can’t remember when), to this day I’ve wanted to create a world with a secret society akin to the one in that book. I won’t give it away, read it. Mine of course will be far different; set-in modern-day life, and not too different from the world we live in. He isn’t in the horror genre, so mine will be darker. We all get our inspiration from somewhere, and Hobb deserves mention as he has inspired me to create a key character in one of my stories.
4. Edgar Allan Poe
How can I leave out the madness of Poe from my top 5 inspirational authors list? Poe was my favorite author when I was in grade school. He was probably my first introduction to the horror genre. I want to say, he did not so much as inspire fear, as he was famous for crafting the most riveting psychological horrors. From the Raven, to the Tell Tale Heart, I used to go to sleep with his dark and dreary voice in my head. He was probably my first love when it came to short stories and he made me want to read.
No one else has ever been able match up to his fun and spooky thrills. He has always inspired me to keep reading and to keep writing. Even now if (and when) I ever hit writer’s block and am in need of a break, I open up my classical Poe collections book and flip through the pages. Annabelle Lee being my favorite poem of his, is on my ‘go to’ pieces for this reason.
5. Stephen King
Yes, I’ve left Stephen King for last. I first picked up Salem’s Lot when I was a teenager and fell in love with the paranormal and scare factor. I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to write in it though, because I never thought I could instil fear in people. Having been subject to the paranormal myself, very little things that go bump in the night actually frighten me. Unless of course that thing is a spider.
I had been a fan of Stephen King way before I ever read one of his books. When I was around 10 or 11 my dad made me watch the movie IT. You may call it tough love as most kids would be terrified of clowns after, but my dad knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t be clutching my seat and he wanted me to grow up strong and unafraid. I’m sure if I had been any other child, it could have gone terribly wrong.
Although I’m not much into gore, I study his pacing and suspense for how he draws out fear. He doesn’t only make it scary, he plays with psychological aspects of horror. Just because I like Stephen King doesn’t mean I’m going to copy his every form. If I’m not into gore, I won’t write it in. Simple. This doesn’t mean I won’t at all if it is truly necessary for my scene though.
I do like how King gives his characters dimension, makes them relatable in giving them dark flaws. All of us have dark flaws, don’t we? Having us watch Danny Torrence grow up with his shining and then giving him alcohol addiction always set a reminder for me that our protagonists cannot be perfect. Take into account what we’ve put them through and think about how it would affect a person in real life. This is something that I really admire about his writing and something I always go back to when developing my characters.
What authors inspired you growing up, and how? It doesn’t have to be in writing, but they could also have inspired you in life.