There’s a meme going around Facebook for you to list 10 authors who influenced you and why. This is a moldy oldie meme and I have this saved from at least a year ago on my page when the list was 15 long. I did not say anything about the why of them at the time, but I shall pencil in my thoughts.
Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes is my ever favorite. It was written about some boys who were my age and I could identify with them in some ways. I also really loved his writing, and thought I’d like to become a writer myself. Over on DOA is an old post about the letter I wrote to him at age 13 or so. Oddly I haven’t any desire to write a novel anymore, but I do love writing on my three blogs about many things, especially other people’s writing 🙂
Harlan Ellison What an angry young man, but brilliant so I admired him for a very long time. His Dangerous Visions anthologies were just great.
Vonda N. McIntyre Dreamsnake, one of the first books by a female science fiction author I probably read. Great story.
Joe Haldeman The Forever War I read in college and it was all still a very Vietnam world. My college days changed my thinking about the world forever, and this book drove home the utter futility of war.
Robert H. Heinlein I love all of his books, especially the juveniles such as Citizen of the Galaxy and Tunnel in the Sky. I liked his philosophy of the world, his practical tough stance, his heroes off to save the world. They always did the right thing.
Isaac Asimov His Robot books are my favorites. The laws of Robotics, made to broken. The dawning humanity of the robots. The questions of what makes a creature/construct alive. Asimov also wrote many essays and had an encyclopedic knowledge of many topics. His Before the Golden Age anthology introduced me to a whole era and stable of writers such as Stanley G. Weinbaum whom I would never have known about.
Stanley G. Weinbaum I have everything I could find with this author. I can think of no one who could write about planetary exploration and incredible aliens like Weinbaum. His work is just richly imaginative. Wondrous.
Carolyn Hart I read the Death On Demand series in the late 90s just when I was beginning to read mysteries seriously. In fact, after reading Patricia Cornwell’s novels, I wanted to find more like her. Carolyn Hart is nothing like Cornwell of course, but her mystery bookshop owner recommends dozens of authors in every book and you can just sit there with pencil in hand getting ideas for new authors.
Patricia Cornwell I read the Body farm because I sometimes would pick the latest book by a popular author and try it to see what it was like so I could talk about it with customers. I found this to be just gripping. I liked Kay Scarpetta very much and her sidekick Pete Marino was sweet and crumpled all in a big bear type guy. I went back and read them all from the beginning.
Laurie King She has several series, but the one I like best is the Mary Russell mysteries. This character was a very brilliant teen in the Beekeeper’s Apprentice and an excellent match and foil for Sherlock Holmes. Reading her take on Sherlock is really what made me a Sherlock fan, and has led me to read other Sherlockian tales and be a big fan of Elementary and Sherlock on tv.
J.K. Rowling My son was 11 when we started reading the books about the boy wizard together. He grew up right along with Harry and the gang. Brilliantly plotted, drenched in decency and the power of friendship, I cannot recall anyone ever telling me after reading them that they did not love the stories.
Anne Perry Her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels are the perfect historical mysteries to me. I love the intricate details of life in Victorian times, the complex mysteries, the love and devotion of Thomas and Charlotte for each other.
Stephen King I think I was still in college when I began these or soon thereafter. I was a big fan of vampire stories at the time and Salem’s Lot was a revelation. I’ve always admired king’s capturing of the plain speech of common folk. I used to picture him sitting in bars jotting down the colorful things people said. Nobody is scarier, nobody tries harder to thrill you. He is the Master.
J.R.R. Tolkien Also in college, I fell in with the local science fiction society and began broadening my science fiction/fantasy reading. I started with the Hobbit and just loved it and all of the characters. When I began the Fellowship of the Ring, I was terribly disappointed that the same characters did not have center stage, but I was soon deeply involved by the adventures of Frodo and company. My imagination of the story was enhanced greatly by the Tolkien calendars of The Brothers Hildebrandt.