My own personal influences came from other writers, and many of them not even in the paranormal genre. When I was a young child I read Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Any serious child reader has to experience the joys of these authors. They are amazing! I was a huge fan of the Mallory Towers series and The Famous Five. I also read a few Secret Seven books but these were never quite as magical. But they all fired up my imagination.
And then there was Matilda, The BFG and the Witches. These were my favourite Roald Dahl books, closely followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. My husband has recently started reading Matilda to our daughter for her bedtime story, and once again I sit transfixed by the story. I adore the use of language, and Quentin Blake’s illustrations just finish the book brilliantly.
As I grew older I did find my way to the paranormal genre. It started with some Penguin classic ghost stories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and a couple of anthologies of vampire short stories. Then I discovered LJ Smith. I read the Nightworld series, and I was hooked. The books described pretty much exactly what was happening inside my head, but from an American perspective.
It was Nightworld that really fired up my imagination and put the first stirrings of Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) in my head. Back then I would invent the story of a man who was a vampire, and a human woman who discovered his secret. Sometimes the heroine was the vampire. Eventually I discovered the Mason brothers and Jessica Stone, and the rest is history. In fact, I am very surprised at the way my story evolved over the years. It is as though the characters wrote it themselves and I translated.
Finally I discovered Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles. These books showed me that I could be controversial, and that it was acceptable to write about what was really important to me. I didn’t have to disguise my vampires behind senseless violence just so they would be accepted. And now, during the last decade, I have been reading the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton.
All of these amazing authors leave me with a lot to be desired. But hey, eventually they must retire, and maybe by that time I will be experienced and decent enough to take the reins in the paranormal world. A girl can dream …
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