As a writer I know I don’t live in a vacuum. I’m influenced in my writing style by musicians, other authors, television and film, and by mythology, legends, folklore and fairy tales the most. So, who do I feel are most influential in my life? These are my top ten.
- Tuomas Holopainen
If you haven’t heard of Nightwish I’m not entirely surprised. When people ask me who my favourite band is 90% of people don’t know who I’m talking about when I say Nightwish. I love the imagery that Tuomas uses in his lyrics and the way they meld with the symphonic metal nature of the music. This is my favourite kind of music. Nightwish launched my love of metal music. The first Nightwish song I ever heard was Wish I Had an Angel and I fell in love. Nightwish has had a space in my heart ever since. I’ve been told that my writing is heavy with imagery and I think that is because I originally come from a poetry background. Tuomas’ imagery inspires me and I aspire to write beautiful images like he does.
- Jim Steinman
Jim Steinman ties with Tuomas Holopainen for the position of my favourite song writer. If you haven’t heard Steinman’s solo work you will probably be familiar with his work with Meatloaf or Bonnie Tyler. From what I can tell Steinman was responsible for many of the legendary rock ballads of the 80s and you’ll likely have heard one of his songs without even realising it. Steinman wrote Bat out of Hell, Total Eclipse of the Heart and It’s all Coming Back to Me Now. He also wrote In the Dark of the Night on the Anastasia soundtrack. Although my absolute favourite song of his is Home By Now/No Matter What which was written with Andrew Lloyd Weber and originally performed by Meatloaf. I find Jim Steinman’s writing emotive and at times funny. He inspires me to write emotively. He also tends to write about love, as do I. One thing that I think inspires me about musicians is that they have less time and space in which to say what they want to say. Steinman uses the limitations of his medium with finesse and beauty.
- Maria Brinks
I only started listening to In This Moment this year when I subscribed to Spotify and was looking for new music to listen to. I first came across In This Moment when I performed at Beautifully Haunted in 2014. One of the beautiful burlesque dancers did a fan dance to 11:11 and I loved it. I don’t know exactly what it is about Maria Brinks’ music but it makes me feel empowered and magical. I love writing magical stories while listening to her sing. I find if I feel those magical feelings it gives me confidence and I write better. I’d love to be as fearless as Maria seems to be in her music. I’ve listened to her music a lot whilst writing my in-progress trilogy about angels and demons.
- Jane Espenson
I wish I could write humour as well as Jane Espenson can. She has worked on some of my favourite television programmes including Buffy, Once Upon A Time, Torchwood, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, Firefly and Warehouse 13. I’m starting to see a theme in my favourite writers by writing this.
- Emilie Autumn
Emilie Autumn has a magical way of letting the story unfold as she sings her lyrics that I find fascinating. A good example of this is Thank God I’m Pretty. Another is Marry Me. I used to be very into the Romantic Goth fashion, especially Victorian inspired fashions. She is a fantastic performer and was also inspiring to me when I was still dancing.
- Neil Gaiman
I’ve actually only started reading Neil Gaiman in the last twelve months or so. Although I listened to the audiobook of Neverwhere years ago. It’s actually kind of remarkable that it’s taken me so long to pick up another of his books. I love his style, I love his wit and I really can’t believe it took me this long. The first book I read of his was American Gods and it wasn’t quite what I expected but I enjoyed most of it. I adored Stardust is the kind of book I enjoyed reading when I was younger, like The Never-Ending Story. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Good Omens because (see no# 8) I love Terry Pratchett too. I think Gaiman weaves fantasy and reality together excellently and that’s something I strive for in my own writing. Neverwhere is still my favourite, and I want to read it. The audio version I listened to was the BBC star studded production and I think that it was an abridged version.
- J.K. Rowling
I’m a 90s kid, who loves fantasy, need I say more? J.K. Rowling is such an inspiration to me not just for her fantastically clever stories and style but for her other works. She is such a champion for other people. She is generous. She tells it like it is and I find her relatable because I too have depression and anxiety and her ability to be successful in the face of such illness gives me hope. I’m definitely a Potter Nerd, always have been, always will be.
- Terry Pratchett
As with Espenson I wish I could write humour as well as Terry Pratchett could. I love British humour and Terry Pratchett has an excellent handle on it. I do not think of myself as a comic writer, but, I think that comedy is an integral part of a story, even dramatic or horror stories. Comedy breaks tension and adds another level to the writing. Comedy helps deliver truths in a palatable way that sometimes dramatic writing can’t. My personal belief is that to be a good writer you need to be able to write comedy effectively to round out your work.
- Meg Cabot
I doubt I would have survived high school if it weren’t for Meg Cabot. High school was Hell for me and Cabot’s books provided an escape from my reality. I couldn’t tell you how many times I read The Mediator. I adored Insatiable and Overbite when they came out. Meg Cabot always makes me want to read more. She writes the types of stories I wanted to read in high school and the types of stories I want to write; that is, stories that make people want to read them. A lot of her novels are Urban Fantasy, and although she seems to primarily write for YA, she writes the genre well and that is something I hope I do.
- Karen Marie Moning
I was gifted my first K.M.M book. A friend got it in a swag bag and his wife already had a copy. I tore through that series until I had to start waiting for the new releases. In the mean time I read through her Highlander series. This is the first Romance series I’ve read and I loved it. I’m not really into Romance books as such, although I love romance to be a part of a bigger story, but K.M.M knows how to write romance well. She is particularly good at creating characters that suck you into their world; characters that you care about. If I don’t care about a character I’m not going to want to read about them so as an author having characters that people want to read about is important to me.
I also have a special place in my heart for Aurelio Voltaire. I wouldn’t necessarily say that he influences my writing as such, but my life would definitely suffer if I lost his music.
Who influences you in your art? I tend to make up play lists for the books I’m working on and so this list is not comprehensive of everything and everyone who influences me, but I couldn’t possibly list everything here.