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 Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Own-ebook/dp/B001B8QFF4