Every writer is influenced by what they read. There’s no way around that. I said I wouldn’t talk about my life in this blog, but if I’m going to talk about writing, and I want you to read my writing, it may help to know what my influences are.
As mentioned before, one of my parents taught English literature (college level actually). I grew up surrounded by words. My parent had numerous books and anthologies related to English literature. I actually do not remember a time when I couldn’t read. If my professor parent is to be believed, I could read before I could talk (this was demonstrated by my parent saying a word and me pointing to it on a box). This, of course, could be parental embellishment. I didn’t start with the great works of literature, of course. I started with normal kids’ stuff like Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. Also, I was wrong when I said my first introduction to fantasy was in elementary school. It was collections of fairy tales in daycare. These were not the sanitized fairy tales either. In the version of “Cinderella” I read, the stepsisters cut off their toes for their feet to fit into the glass slipper. Anyway, it was actually Roald Dahl who set me on the path of the great works more than my professor parent. When I was about ten years old, I got my hands on a book titled Matilda. If you’ve never read this book, it’s about a child prodigy fighting against bullying adults (actually, pretty much all of Dahl’s books are about children fighting against bullying and/or clueless adults). On one page, there is a list of books Matilda had read by the age of four. I read through this and figured, “I’m ten years old, and I’m smart, so I should read these books too.” This may possibly tell you more about me than I intend for you to know.
That’s when I started picking up the “great works” (I.e. those books your teachers made you read in high school that you hated). I actually read Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Return of the Native, The House of the Seven Gables, The Age of Innocence, The Great Gatsby, Zorba the Greek, A Tale of Two Cities, Hard Times, and of course a translation of The Illiad and Dante’s Inferno by the time I was twelve years old. I won’t even pretend I understood everything I read. I’m quite certain a lot of the drama went right over my head. I had access to all this because of my professor parent, who encouraged my reading habits. I did read other things. I read a whole set of 1960s books about a girl detective that wasn’t Nancy Drew and I read all of the “Ramona” books I could get my hands on. I didn’t settle back into more typical reading habits for my age/demographic until high school (and thanks to my reading habits, I knew Tess of the D’urbervilles was going to be incredibly depressing).
In college I didn’t read nearly as much as I used to because I was trying to earn a degree so I could have food when I graduated. That’s not important. What is important is that is where I became exposed to the sci-fi and fantasy genres (besides fairy tales) and comic books. That is what my friends read, so I picked it up. Also, one of my roommates collected comics, and his collection included a pretty esoteric range of titles. After college I picked up the “great works” again and re-read a lot of the books I’d read as a kid. Unsurprisingly, many of the stories made a lot more sense. I am not heavily into sci-fi even now, but I have read works by the originators of the genre – H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. I am definitely not into the horror genre (this has nothing the quality, just a matter of taste), but I picked up the works of Lovecraft.
I wrote from a young age, but college is also when I started writing for myself. Prior to that time, pretty much everything I wrote was an assignment, with a few minor exceptions. I’m not sure why I started to write, but I enjoyed it and thought maybe people would enjoy what I produced. So that’s why it’s there for you to sample and purchase. But I thought a little background on me might be helpful to understand what I write and what my influences are. Otherwise, my comparison of Emma Frost to Mrs. Dashwood is going to seem very strange.