My Literary Lineage

literary lineageI noticed something interesting the other day while I was compiling my bibliography for my masters thesis.  It has to do with a writing lineage.

What authors inspire your work? Who are the authors you devour? Who do you read and go, “Wow, I wish I wrote that”?

Part of my “spiritual” beliefs and my writing beliefs, is that we are all interconnected, and every time we read something, the words, techniques, themes, and images are digested and seep into us.  They become part of who we are as writers and manifest in our writing. 

Certain writers and time periods are deeply ingrained in who I am.  Some of the deepest roots in my writing come from Anne Rice and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I read them during my “formative years” from eleven to fourteen, and I can see them in what I like to read and write now. I love historical fiction and mystery.  Rice gave me an appreciation for rich texture and evocative descriptions, of books that are enjoyable but are still dark and weighty.  Both Rice and Conan Doyle probably gave me patience while reading. Rice and the Victorians are not known for their brevity.  Historical fiction, written in the modern era or now considered a classic, were my favorite books early on and still are.

If we trace my love for Anne Rice out like a family tree, we’ll find Sarah Waters hanging from the other end of the branch. Waters’ writing is less… ornate than Rice, but her work still has that layered, evocative feel and satisfies my need for historical fiction, especially ones with an LGBT slant.  While I was researching Waters for a presentation, I was surprised to find that one of her influences, A. S. Byatt (just bought her books) was influenced by Iris Murdoch, whose book A Severed Head is on my top ten list.  It was exciting to find that our literary lineages overlapped.  After reading Waters, I began to feel a bit more daring with my characters and my ability to use diverse characters in my stories, especially ones set in the Victorian era.

On a lighter note than Waters, I find myself drawn to Oscar Wilde. While I have read some of his plays and all three versions of Dorian Gray, I think I am more drawn to him as a personality than a writer. If I could have a spirit animal, I think it would be Mr. Wilde. I’ll get to that in another blog post, but from Wilde, we can drop down to a few of my more modern influences, my contemporaries, so to speak.

While the books are short and on the lighter side compared to Rice or Waters, I am in love with the historical fantasies/romances by K. J. Charles and Jordan L. Hawk.  They are more fantasy than historical, but that’s how they are meant to be, and I think the idea that they take place in a different time and maybe even an alternate universe adds to the fantasy and whimsy of the books.

There are plenty of others I could throw into my list of influences, people whose books I devour the moment they are released or as soon as school is over and I can read them.

Whose writing influences your own or who are the authors who have changed your life or satisfied your need for a certain type of book?

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3 Comments

Filed under Writing

3 responses to “My Literary Lineage

  1. This is super interesting! I’ve never really given it much thought, but I think I’ll have to! Thanks for sharing! If you’re ever interested in some awesome book reviews and literary musings, be sure to follow! Thanks!

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