What My Favorite Authors Have Taught Me

 Recently, a reader asked me what authors have influenced me the most. Who have I learned from?

I think every author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. Either as examples of how to write or how not to write. I’ll focus on the positive side of the question here.

I’ll discuss a few in this post and explore others in future posts.

These aren’t ranked according to who is the most influential. That would be almost impossible. Some have inspired the love of reading and the desire to write. Others have shown aspects of the craft, of how to write a story.

Walter Farley is without a doubt the first writer to influence me. I loved his Black Stallion stories. He is the author who first instilled the idea of writing stories. That seed took many years of germination before producing fruit. Fruit that led to a third career as a writer.

I discovered Orson Scott Card through Ender’s Game. My appreciation of him deepened with his Alvin Maker series. From Mr. Card, I learned the importance of building credible story worlds that are so real you forget they’re the creations of one man’s mind. His books on the craft of writing taught me about creating compelling characters and how to build story worlds that transport the reader into new experiences even in what feels like a familiar setting. His alternative American History in the Alvin Maker series left me believing it could have really happened.

Morgan Llwelyn writes about Ireland with stories based on hard fact—her Irish Century series—and stories that are mix of history and mythology such as The Lion of Ireland and so many others. I study her to learn how to make real historical characters come alive in the reader’s mind and heart. Her story worlds portray an Ireland so real, I am there with the sea breeze in my face, the aroma of the peat bogs, the cacophony of the cities. Her descriptions of Irish forts and the halls of the kings are alive with the reality of the time period whether it’s the Twentieth Century or the mists and myths of time.

What authors have influenced you then most? How? Why?

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