Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunday October 12th, 2014 What Authors Recommend

Back in February, the Thunder Bay Public Library’s blog TBPL Off the Shelf started interviewing authors. At the end of each interview, they’re always asked what book or author inspired them to write. One of the authors, Karen Autio, didn’t recommend anything in particular; instead she thought that everyone should read “regularly and widely.”  This sentiment was echoed by many of the others, although they also added books that particularly spoke to them.

Joseph Nassise was the first author to be interviewed. He wrote the amazing fantasy book Eyes to See. Nassise is a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, which starts with A Princess of Mars (and inspired the 2012 Disney movie John Carter). He was also inspired by Clive Barker, Robert McCammon, and Dean Koontz, and recommends John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing, the first in Connolly’s Charlie Parker series.

Phillipa Ballantine is a podcaster and the author of the Books of the Order and the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. She says it was C. J. Cherryh who inspired her. In her words, “Not only was [Cherryh] a magnificent example to me as a teenager of a woman making it as a writer, she also wrote flawed, powerful, and sometimes terrifying female characters.”  Of course, Ballantine is herself no stranger to writing such characters, as she demonstrated with the deacon Sorcha Faris in the Books of the Order.

Jon Sprunk, author of the Shadow Saga and Blood and Iron, the first in his Book of the Black Earth series, has a self-professed “man-crush” on Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, which starts with Gardens of the Moon. He also recommends reading Tolkien, Tolstoy, Robert E. Howard, Glen Cook, Fritz Leiber, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Sharon Irvine echoed Sprunk’s recommendation of Tolkien’s books. In particular, this local poet thinks that everyone should read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings as they are totally engaging, no matter your age. For poetry, Irvine was inspired by T.S. Eliot, but is also very fond of Don McKay’s work.

Kevin Hearne wrote the Iron Druid Chronicles, which was a real hit with library staff, particularly at Brodie. The series stars the cute Irish druid Atticus O’Sullivan and his lovable Irish wolfhound, Oberon. Hearne strongly recommends reading Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which he says has amazing voice.

Jessica Young is the author of the cute picture book My Blue is Happy and the forthcoming Spy Guy. She has many excellent children’s book recommendations including Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library stories, James Marshall’s George and Martha, Tomi Ungerer’s Crictor, the Lisbeth Zwerger-illustrated version of Gift of the Magi, Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. But it was On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier that inspired her first “real” attempt at writing, inevitably leading her to My Blue is Happy.

Chuck Wendig is the Taco Pastor and Priest of Pineapple Parish of the Holy Taco Church. While not talking about and eating Mexican food with other writers (including Tacopope Picante I, aka Kevin Hearne), Wendig manages to find the time to write. A lot. He is a screenwriter, author, blogger, and game designer. His books include the Heartland Trilogy, the Miriam Black series, and the Mookie Pearl series, among others. He heartily recommends that everyone read his books. Failing that, he recommends Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon.

So that’s what the first eight authors we’ve interviewed recommend. If you’d like to read more of what they have to say, be sure to check out our blog at, which also has books TBPL staff recommend.

Shauna Kosoris

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