Hello, friends and fans of Heroines of Fantasy!
One of the current memes on Facebook asks writers to list the ten novels that influenced them the most. The topic of inspiration and influence is fitting for the holiday season and closing out of another year, so, without further ado, I bring you my annotated list.
1. The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, my first entrée into the world of fantasy.
2. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. I found Dragonsinger on the shelf of my elementary school library in fifth grade. I read every book thereafter, enthralled by this amazing new world I had discovered. In middle and high school, I even wrote Pern fan fiction for Star-Rise Weyr. On a typewriter! Then I mailed it, and it was published in beautiful booklets that were mailed back quarterly-ish. Good, good times, as both a writer and a fan.
3. The Once and Future King by T.H. White. My 7th grade English teacher assigned this novel, which sparked the love of Arthurian legend that eventually guided my Master’s emphasis (Medieval Literature) and inspired me to become a writer.
4. The Belgariad by David Eddings. Back in 8th grade, I pulled the first novel in the series from my mom’s bookshelf and discovered that epic fantasy could also be romantic and funny. And yes, Eddings is also responsible for my love affair with the apostrophe.
5. Joyce Ballou Gregorian’s Tredana trilogy. I think these novels might have gone out of print minutes after I read them, and it took me years to relocate and collect them all. They were so influential that I have never actually reread the books I hunted down so carefully, out of fear that I wouldn’t love them as much. Special trivia: these books inspired the dream that inspired the very early drafts of Song and the Sorceress. The name of my world—Sildehna—is a shout-out to these books.
6. Cujo, Christine, and Carrie, by Stephen King. I went through an avid King phase in middle school (apparently all I did was read novels in middle school, which my Social Studies and math grades reflect) and particularly enjoyed his early work, which delves much more into the psychology and human element of horror rather than his later, slasher fiction.
7. Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women is a far better, funnier, and more feminist text than The Canterbury Tales, and it is also the subject of my Master’s thesis. I pity those who haven’t discovered Chaucer, especially those who have never read this text. Chaucer and I would have totally gotten along.
8. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I came to Tolkien very late; in fact, I read his scholarly work in graduate school long before I ever read a word of his novels (partly due to overexposure to film strip versions of the horrible animated film, shown repeatedly during library time in grade school). Happily, I did read the novels—over and over—and I now own a leaf cloak pin, a tapestry map, and many other tokens as symbols of my extreme geektitude.
9. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling. Despite the overuse of adverbs, these are pivotal works of fiction that will stand the test of time. If Rowling writes anything else set in the wizarding world, ever, I will read it and love it. And I will continue to wait for my letter from Hogwarts until the day I die.
10. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, my starter drug for the world of dystopian fiction, which I have been hooked on ever since. Someday, I’m going to write a dystopian novel. Wait for it.
Now I’m tagging all of you: what are your top ten novels? And if it’s something I should read, post links! I’m always looking for the next great read!
See you next year,