Thursday, August 02, 2007

Which authors have influenced you?

To be a great writer you need to be a good reader. I'm often suspicious of the kind of folk who claim not to read but say they are good writers. I got to thinking, who has influenced my writing the most over the years?

Now, I can't just say it's any one particular author, more an amalgam of many.

The first author who made a huge impression on me as a child was Enid Blyton. I credit Ms. Blyton with being the person who made me the avid reader I am today. I enjoyed tales of The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, Six Bad Boys [and a book that probably wouldn't get published today, The Three Golliwogs.]

From Enid Blyton, I progressed to Irish author, Edna O'Brien. I was a tender seventeen years of age when I went to visit my Swedish penpal, Anna Enliden, in Jonkoping. The only English books they had in the house were by this author. I think Anna's mother must have been studying her texts years back in college. I was immediately hooked on Girl with Green Eyes and The Countrygirls. What I loved about both books is that there were written in the first person and were way ahead of their time. They were originally published in the 60s and probably the forerunner for Chick Lit as we know it today. O'Brien was scandalised in Ireland at the time and book burning parties took place by local priests. Even the author's own mother took a black marker pen to her books!

Fancy having such an impact on society!

Next, I progressed to the works of Jackie Collins. Okay her books are sexy and full of raunch, but so are Edna's to be honest with you. They're just not so in your face as Jackie's! Although Jackie's books have sex in them, I don't think there is that much and they're not that graphic, that's not why I read them anyhow. Believe it or not, it's her plot and characters that keep me on the edge of my seat turning page after page. It's hard to believe she's almost seventy years of age.

If there was one author I would love to be compared with, it is this lady. She is so ballsy. Sometimes I think she writes like a man. I love the way she brings in organised crime and villains to die for. She never writes at the computer, always in longhand.

I wouldn't be surprised if she carried on writing until her dying day!

Another influence of mine has been Rosamunde Pilcher. She of The Shell Seekers fame and Winter Solstice. I love the way she paints pictures with her words. I feel that I can see the surroundings she conjures up whether it's on the Cornish coast or the highlands of Scotland.

My most recent influence has been, Karen Rose. She writes mystery/suspense. I love the way she goes into the thoughts of her villains. I have tried this myself for my most recent novel and it's really brought the plot to life!

I think writing like this gave my novel a whole other dimension. I don't know as I write this, if the book will be accepted for publication, but I feel it's my best work yet.

Opening our minds to new styles of writing is good for us as authors. I watch The Richard and Judy bookclub and sometimes choose works by authors I have never heard of before and have been surprised to discover a new author whose work I might not have otherwise tried.

So, my question to you is: which authors have influenced you?


Allie Boniface said...

What a great post! I've been influenced by a crazy combination of writers: William Shakespeare, Stephen King, Ayn Rand, Jodi Picoult, and Nora Roberts, to name a few. I know, crazy, right??

Lynette said...

Thanks, Allie. I love Shakespeare myself. I used to adore visiting Stratford-upon-Avon with the school to see plays like: A Comedy of Errors. I remember a much younger Judy Dench acting in that.

I also went there on honeymoon. [We got married on April 23rd, which coincientally happened to be Mr. Shakespeare's birthday as well as the day he died!] The staff at the RSC theatre were excited as they knew a famous couple would be arriving for the performance of Henry the V.

We were late going in and were fortunate to see the couple enter just feet away from us. I think we were the only people to see this apart from the staff. It was Prince Charles and Princess Diana! They looked stunning.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Wow Lynette! What a detailed and interesting post! I enjoyed reading about your favorite authors and how cool that you were able to post the pics too. Like Allie I've been influenced by an eclectic group of writers and some pretty motivational writers turned public speakers. Thanks for sharing.

Lynette said...

Yes, it's interesting how what we read, influences what we write. Thanks for your comments, Maggie.