From Horses to American History and Vampires–The Authors Who Have Inspired Me

Okay, this is going to sound corny, but the very first author that ever influenced me was Walter Farley (The Black Stallion Series and other Horse related fiction). Yeah, yeah, but hey, I’m a girl, and I LOVED horses–plus I was a child/pre-teen at the time. No apologies overall though. I loved those books for much more than the storylines. I loved them because they taught me something very valuable. They taught me that even fiction can be informative.

That’s right, informative. Now I know we don’t as a rule pick up a work of fiction to learn about things, but you SHOULD be able to get something important out of it. Maybe it will be more on a viewpoint rather than an item of logic, but important none-the-less. However, one thing Walter always did was make sure his fiction had truth in them. Real workings of stable, horse or other life that helped this young girl understand a world she wasn’t a part of (until later anyway–been there done that. LOL) No matter who the author was, though, I was always reading. 

Then, later on that feeling was amplified when in high school I stumbled on The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes. You see, I HATED history in school. It was dry, uninspiring and all about dead people or things that happened a long time ago. What relevance did they have for me as a teenager in the 70s? (Okay, I was too young to truly understand the idea that history repeats itself, or that you have to learn from your past to avoid making the same mistakes, etc.) When I read the first novel in the series “The Bastard” (yes, the name was a big draw, and probably the reason I picked it up in the first place), I found a world where history still lived and breathed.

Fast forward–Young and newly married with two small children I needed and wanted a fun escape. Books have always been the place I looked and the next author that most influenced me was Anne Rice. Here’s where fantasy really took hold of me. I’d always enjoyed the fantasy genre along with many, many others, and my writing still reflects the wide genre influences. Anne’s books, however gave me a taste of how you could mold a fantasy world that was a steadfast and stoic one into something totally different. In my opinion, and some may disagree, but tough, it’s my opinion, Anne Rice is the one who started the entire “romantic vampire” image where before we had only the image created by Bram Stoker.

These and many, many other authors from Stephen King to a sea of less famous and even unknown authors have shaped my life, my imagination and my own writing from the time I could read and hold a pen. I am forever indebted to them and to the many others indy and traditional that I still discover anew today for making my life a more fulfilling and wonderful place–oh yes, and knowledgeable too.

Tami Parrington is a freelance writer and author of seven novels including Hell’s Own. Check out Hell’s Own on at


3 comments on “From Horses to American History and Vampires–The Authors Who Have Inspired Me

  1. I have been a reader since about the age of six and I’m, now 68. Like you I have read many books. In fact there was a time when that’s all I did with my spare time. I’m not a good people person, though far from a hermit. I was in grammar school when I read the Black Stallion series. I also enjoyed the Kent Family Chronicles. Though I will read any book, in fiction I prefer books with a reoccurring character, hence my reading of the Horatio Hornblower and Richard Bolitho Napoleonic Naval Warfare Series. My reading of the Conan books, Lazarus Long books, Jack Reacher novels, Catherine Coulters’ FBI Thrillers, Patricia Cornwell’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta stories. I remember proudly reading Bruce Catton’s series during the Civil War Centennnial in the 1960’s. Amongst my proudest accomplishments has been successfully navigating my way completely through Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln books ans Shelby Foote’s massive 3 volume Narrative of the Civil War. I read biography, mystery, thriller, history, biography, science fiction, current events and even an occacional romance novel. I don’t know how many books I’ve read over the years, but it numbers in the thousands. I’ve reread many of the books I really enjoyed multiple times. For many years I read the newspaper every day and at one time used to receive a minimum of 5 magazines a week in the mail, which I would devour. The whole point of this is to support Tami’s thesis that reading no matter what enstills knowledge, as if by osmosis. I am not an expert in any subject, but due to the extensive knowledge I’ve gained by reading, I can intelligently carry on conversations on many subjects, with just about anyone. My only regret is that my love of movies and some television shows, means I no longer read as voraciously. I strongly reccommend reding as a passtime to one and all.

  2. Love your comment Warren. I had to laugh a little at your notion that all of your reading has created a database of knowledge of sorts so that you can hold a conversation in a multitude of subjects: I always joke around and say that I am a “Font of Useless Trivia,” but the fact is, I agree wholeheartedly with your idea. Reading expands your knowledge base considerably even when it is fiction, and it also opens up your thinking to allow for a larger viewpoint as a whole.

    • I sure understand your “Font of Useless Trivia” remark. Often when I come up with the answer to someone’s query about an arcane piece of knowlwdge, I’m accused of pulling that out of my butt & have to explain if you read a lot, even if its all fiction your reading, you can’t help up gain a lot of information. Other than the religion and poetry, my least knowledge is in science, but I remember reading various novels by James A Mihener and learning more geology, bialogy, archealogy and other subjects, than I ever learned in school and I was a good student.

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