If you are a steady reader like me, then you have a favorite author(s); the tried-and-true writing you will come back to because you will always love it. For me, it is Christopher Paolini, Rick Riordan, and Tamora Pierce. Most would know these authors of the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon), the Percy Jackson Series, and Song of the Lioness Series. These three authors write in the young adult genre, and inspired my love of writing about alternate worlds. Technically, these series are no longer my age group, and I’ve graduated to more adult novels, but when you like something, you like something—right?
The world-building of the Inheritance Cycle is absolutely amazing. The author did a lot to create a realm that, for me, inspired my undertaking of a unique Earth-like setting. From the soaring Beor Mountains to the vast harsh Hadarac Desert and the ancient Du Weldenvarden, this story inspired my imagination when drawing a map of the
Broken Realms because I wanted to include many biomes for my characters to cross. I traveled a lot as a child. I wanted a map that represented the different places I’ve seen. The soft waving stalks of wheat grain found often in the Great Plains of the United States were the very thing my main characters in Heart traverse as they cross the Burning Plains to reach the next destination on their journey. That’s the beauty of being a writer. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it’s past authors that often create that spark of imagination.
For me, I fell in love with the Fantasy genre thanks to Tamora Pierce. Of course, I read other books before that, but it was her Immortals Series that sent me on a quest to devour fantasy novels and the magic contained within them. Why couldn’t there really be a world where I could talk to animals? Why shouldn’t I pick up a sword and defend the things that I believed in? And, of course, it made sense to befriend a baby dragon that was full of mischief. In my novel, Kiira’s companion, Skehtra, is a loyal Wolfcat that she has an emotional connection to thanks to my character’s gift of magic. While Kiira cannot have conversations with animals, her Nature Magic allows her to connect to feelings of surrounding animals. She can sense their fear or joy and convey feelings to them. All of my writing will include an animal companion, whether or not they can communicate with the protagonist, a loyal partner is definitely going to be found at their side. If it wasn’t for Tamora Pierce’s inspiration, I’m not sure I would have ever arrived at that in my writing.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the Percy Jackson series. What inspired me the most of Rick Riordan’s writing is his ability to create relatable characters. Because his novels take place in a present day Earth, it’s easy to picture yourself as a Greek Demigod having to face the worse sorts of challenges. Throughout the series, Percy has to grow both into his power as the son of Poseidon and emotionally as he faces trials that could mean the end of the world if he fails. Yet, he remains steadfast in his beliefs. It’s an example of how we, as humans, can evolve and remain true to ourselves at the same time. In Heart, and in the soon-to-come subsequent novels, it was an aspect of my characters that I wanted to highlight. None of my characters had to suddenly deal with an unknown power. Instead, I chose to have them endure situations that forced them to make choices for or against growth. Connection to a character draws me into a story, and it was Rick Riordan’s writing that inspired me to do the same in my novel.
Of course, there are a lot of authors out there that have given glimpses of inspiration for my writing, but these three are my favorite. There will also be other authors in the future that provide bits of inspiration, and that’s the beauty of creativity, but Christopher Paonlini, Tamora Pierce, and Rick Riordan, and their writing will have me coming back again and again. I hope to do the same for my readers. I hope that one day my writing inspires another young reader to become an author. I hope they create worlds with an imagination as endless as the universe.
The Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini
The Percy Jackson Series & Beyond - Rick Riordan
The Red Rising Saga - Pierce Brown
The Three Dark Crowns Series - Kendare Blake
The Folk of the Air - Holly Black
The Spoken Mage Series - Melanie Cellier
The Immortals Series - Tamora Pierce