Painters, sculptors, songwriters, authors, and all sorts of artists everywhere are often asked where they get their ideas, what inspires them, or what influences their work. I was recently asked to think about creating a bibliography for my most recent book, Moonlight Hunting.
But I really didn't do a whole lot of research, was my first thought. A little fact checking here and there, but nothing big. Thinking back, though, I was able to pinpoint three authors whose books have definitely shaped my fantasy writing, more than I realized at first.
1. Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar trilogy popped into my mind first. This series follows a young woman as she rises from being little more than an afterthought about to be married off to being chosen by a magical Companion (like a spirit guide in a horse's form) and becoming the right hand woman to the queen. I love a good underdog story, and have enjoyed this one many times over. The theme of someone reaching deep within to find their inner strength and triumph over all is one I love to play with.
2. Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series has been an inspiration, too. I love the way Shannon Hale takes time with each of her characters. So much time, that practically each one gets their own book! I followed suit with Moonlight Hunting, picking up where The Dream Traveler ended, but giving different characters a chance to shine.
3. Finally, there's Piers Anthony's Xanth series. These books were my favorite Christmas gift for several years, which made things easy on Mom and Dad. At first I thought it was mainly Piers Anthony's creation of Xanth that influenced me. He, among many authors, modeled the process of building your own magical world. It seems the only rule is to be consistent. Other than that, let imagination take the lead. What surprised me (other than the revelation of how sexist these books actually are - I was a very naive adolescent) was being reminded that in Xanth, all citizens have a unique magical gift. Huh. Just like in Cardonia.
So there you have it. A literary version of Moonlight Hunting's mix tape.