Friday, May 3, 2013

Question 3 -- who are your literary influences?

So much for twenty questions in twenty days, right?

As often happens in my life, I ended up sidetracked a bit by ... well, life. But I do want to make sure I reply to all who responded, so today I'm answering a couple of questions from Thomas Fortenberry.

"I want to know who/what your literary influences are? Do you have a fav character, world, or author you want to tip the hat at and honor?"

That's a tough one, because I don't have a single such influence I can point to and say "That's why I write" or "That's who I want to write like."

When I first became addicted to reading -- I mean really caught up in having to have another book, devouring it and then needing another -- I was reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series. I know, that's not exactly what you think of when asking about "literary" influences, but I was a kid, they were easy reading and truly entertaining.

I had already been writing some then, but more as a way to deal with things going on in my life, sort of a method of self-therapy (though I didn't understand it in those terms at the time). But I loved Goosebumps, and that made me want to try writing simply to entertain, to have fun with a story of my own creation.

Later I grew into the more literary works someone with a traditional education might recognize. I enjoyed Hemingway. Yes, I actually read The Old Man and the Sea because I wanted to. And one of my favorite novels is For Whom the Bell Tolls.

I've always felt that Hemingway could be entertaining in a way that keeps you interested in the work, while also exploring deeper truths or themes that set his work apart from simpler popular fiction.

I kind of enjoyed Dickens' work, although the long-winded, over-descriptive method of writing from that time period makes the reading feel like what a sprinter must feel running through waist-deep water. I've read a bit of Dickens because I like this stories, but the writing just kills me.

Poe I love. Absolutely adore.

And of more modern vintage, a couple of years ago I discovered Robert B. Parker. Now, that's a writer. And storyteller. If there is one writer I would most want to emulate, it may be Parker.

I am guessing, at this point, Thomas (and maybe the rest of you) are wondering how in the world someone who lists Hemingway, Poe, and Robert Parker among her literary influences can be writing erotica. It's probably a fair question.

My answer? It's simply what I enjoy. I work hard at making the writing sharp, the sense of story strong and engaging, without relying on the cheap thrills so many have come to associate with erotica. Don't get me wrong, I'm trying to include a high level of heat, with smooth, clear writing, but in the end, for me, it's story. It's the plot, the characters, the evolution of those characters as the plot, and subplots, unfold, that does it for me as a writer.

Will I spend my whole life writing erotica? Who knows? I enjoy it now, and while it's all that I've published it is far from all that I write, but I am proud of the erotica I have written, and I hope to make it fiction that readers will enjoy.

Thanks for the great question Thomas.

If any more of you have a question about me or my writing, please feel free to put it in the comments section or e-mail to me and I'll respond.

Thanks for stopping by



  1. I'm glad to see someone is honest enough to list Goosebumps as a literary influence. Anything that gets kids to want to read is good in my book. We can't all start off with Dickens, Tolstoy, Austin, Frost.... If we could, I would not have been forced to read "See spot run. See Jane make the bed."

  2. Kelly, I absolutely adored Goosebumps. I lost all of mine after leaving home, but after finally settling down and getting a real job and a place to live, I've managed to pick up a few here and there -- I still read them when I get one.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kelly.