Friday Five: Five Authors I Stalk

And by stalk, I mean that I follow them on their blogs, their twitter, their Goodreads page… pretty much anywhere I can find them online. Not half so creepy or crazy, right? Right? Well… ahem.

So, here we go, along with links so that you can follow them too, if you so choose:

1) Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and her faerie earlier duo, Lament and Ballad.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Merry Sisters of Fate (where she takes turns writing stories with Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and guest authors)

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Maggie, and that includes her rambliest of blog posts. She’s written some very helpful advice for writers, too, which has been enlightening. I find insights particularly interesting since she’s an artist and a musician, which gives her writing a lyricism and aesthetic that’s hard to find, especially in YA ficiton. I’ve branched into following her two CP’s also, and especially enjoy Tessa Gratton’s blog.

2) Shannon Hale, author of the Books of Bayern, Book of a Thousand Days, etc.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

I really try to keep up with Shannon Hale’s announcements and things, mainly because I just love, love, love her books. Some of her characters are absolute loves of mine, so I like to know what’s going on in her bookish world as soon as I can.

3) Jackson Pearce, author of Sisters Red, Sweetly, etc.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads :: Tumblr :: Youtube

Okay, really her website is her blog again, and her blog is almost exclusively vlogs from her youtube channel, but I’ve linked all so you have options of where you want to follow what. I started watching Jackson’s youtube videos before I ever started reading her books. I stuck around, and actually picked up her novel Sisters Red because I found her to be so witty and fun on her vlogs. Be warned, though, she does have some very strong opinions on some things, and isn’t afraid to offend people with what she says. She errs on the side of snark a little much sometimes, I think, but most of the time she’s very fun to pay attention to, and if nothing else, a great example of how to maximize your use of social media.

4) Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads :: Tumblr

I also followed Beth Revis before reading her book (I’m reading Across the Universe now, if you remember). I found her on Twitter, then Tumblr, and finally really started reading her blog recently, and I’ve enjoyed them all immensely. I had wanted to read her book before I found her online—it was getting amazing reviews—but I enjoyed getting to know a bit about her personality online before diving in.

5) Jasper Fforde, author of the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Okay, actually it’s difficult to get updates from Jasper… he’d rather be writing, and I’m A-OK with that. He is one of my absolute favorite authors, though, so I have to include his links. I can’t wait to read his newest novel which is for a youth audience and is about dragon tamers and rediscovering magic. I’m in love with it already.

Something Expansive

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

I don’t know that there’s one particular author who set off the inspiration for my WIP. I’d been reading a lot of young adult and middle grade fantasy of various types, and really what drove me to work on this story was the wish to write something expansive. Not “epic” necessarily… but definitely expansive.

If I had to point fingers, though… I think I’d have to single out Shannon Hale.

Despite what I just said, I’m really not much of a reader of fantasy. There is very little of it out there that doesn’t give me the urge to roll my eyes… especially high fantasy. Unless you’re J.R.R. Tolkein or Brandon Mull, you can keep your dragons to  yourself, thanks. And fairies? There was the occasional brilliant book (Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater) but mostly they seemed like a thinly veiled analogy for teen angst, which I didn’t care for. And unless it’s Harry Potter, don’t even talk about wizards.

But Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl reminded me of the fantasy that I loved—had always loved. Fairy tale magic. Subtle, natural magic. Magic like the whispering of words on the wind, or later on in the series, of the language of fire and water. The Goose Girl also had this wide, sweeping landscape and crossed whole nations. It had castles and communities and class-action suits. Okay, not exactly that last one, but close enough—a group of people who were fighting for equal standing, for recognition.

Shannon Hale’s world was so real that I felt like I’d been there, maybe in a dream. I wanted to create something like that. A dream-memory-worthy world. That sure sounded expansive to me. I didn’t want to retell a fairy tale, though. Too many people were doing that… or just about to do that. I wanted to write my own fairy tale. It’s one I’ve fallen dearly in love with, with elements from many of my favorite stories throughout folklore, but I’d like to think with my own special twist.

Other inspirations for my WIP include things like Willow, The Princess Bride, and The Polar Bear King, a movie that I loved to death when I was a kid. I wanted my world to stand alongside worlds like these… quietly magical, wonderfully alive fantasy. Even Robin Hood has had its influence here and there.

Another thing all these worlds have in common? The hero in the story isn’t quite what you’d expect. Sad girl, pirate, misfit… There’s a lesson in a lot of these stories that strength can come to anybody who stands up and fights for it. That’s something I wanted to write about, too. About extreme conditions, extreme need making even an outcast into a hero.

Wish me luck with it.