Authors share five books that have, in one way or another, influenced their lives and writing.
S.G. Browne, author of Fated – about an immortal who falls in love with a human, ultimately breaking cosmic rule no. 1 (don’t get involved!) which results in major catastrophe – shares five books that have had the largest influence on him, ultimately inspiring him to become a writer.
Lord of the Flies, William Golding (1981)
When I read Lord of the Flies thirty years ago, I didn’t realize it would become my favorite novel of all time, but I can still recall how much I enjoyed the writing and the story and the characters. It was the first time I developed a true love for the written word. So many of the characters and events of that book have stayed with me throughout the years. I’ve got the conch!
The Talisman, Stephen King & Peter Straub (1985)
The Talisman is the book that made me want to become a writer. While not my favorite novel by either King or Straub, I became so caught up in the adventure unfolding within the pages and so engrossed in the story and the characters that the world outside of the book ceased to exist. And I thought: “I want to make people feel this way.”
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut (1996)
Although I’d read Cat’s Cradle years before in high school, I didn’t appreciate the humor in it and the social satire until I read it again in my early 30’s. It made me realize how important humor was in writing and how humor could be used to make social commentary rather than simply being for laughs. It showed me a different layer to comedy.
Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk (2002)
If The Talisman is the novel that made me want to become a writer, Lullaby is the novel that made me realize what was possible for me to do as a writer. Prior to reading Palahniuk’s dark comedy and social satire about an African culling song, the only satire I’d read had been Vonnegut. But the added element of the supernatural in Lullaby spoke to me in a voice I’d never heard before. It’s the novel that inspired me to turn my two-thousand-word short story “A Zombie’s Lament” into Breathers, which became my first published novel.
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler (2010)
Chandler published this, his first novel, at the age of 51 and I was immediately struck by the richness and quality of the prose. Arguably the father of the modern detective story, Chandler’s humor and descriptive style and his characterization of his iconic detective influenced my third novel, Lucky Bastard*, which contains elements of mystery and noir.
*Lucky Bastard has not yet been published – something to definitely look forward to!