What really defines your time as a writer?
Obviously the things you write, but take a step back, I think it’s not so much what you write as what inspired you before you knew you were going to be a writer. It’s easy to say this or that about an author after you have read their work or even for the author to discuss their piece. Me? I like to hear about their influences before it congealed. What did they grow up on? Those precious moments in the most informative years I believe set the stage. If the author had a vivid imagination as a child. Did they watch cartoons well into adulthood? Were they comic book readers or were they sci-fi junkies from a young age? You wouldn’t expect an author who wants to pen the next great literary classic to tell you they grew up watching Animaniacs and now owns the entire collection. (I proudly admit it, Pinky and the Brain being a favorite) In the Fantasy genre the readers wants the author or as I like to refer to them “tour guide” to have a love and respect for the world they have built. The reader must trust the author. I believe this is where knowing a little more about the author and their qualifications comes into play. I’m not speaking on degrees; this is about influences and the love of the genre. A reader can tell within the first quarter of a book if the author loves a genre. So I thought I would let you guys in on my background, besides the nursing and martial arts stuff. Here are my influences, this is what has carried me through and as an author colored my landscape…
The first movie I ever saw was “Star Wars” my parents took me to a drive-in when I was two years old and while I can’t tell you I remember seeing it in its entirety I can say they took me just about every Friday night for weeks and I fell asleep to the sounds of blasters, light sabers and Darth Vader’s breathing for the months. Star Wars pretty much became the metric by which all storytelling was measured. Good versus evil, it was clean and uncomplicated.
Disney– Mickey Mouse was the second staple in my house. My grandfather served with Walt and even drew with him. They remained friends and Walt offered him the first animation scholarship. My grandfather refused, not wanting to move his young family out to California. Disney is in my blood, once again the art of storytelling and building around a central villain is old school Disney princess perfection.
Wonder Woman– it gets complicated because I adore Gal Gadot’s movie version, but my heart belongs to Lynda Carter, with a nod to Cathy Lee Crosby because technically I saw her portrayal of the Amazon princess first. Either way Lynda Carter sent my 5 year old heart into over drive when she twirled on the screen exploding into fireworks of red, white and blue. She proved to me women could be superheroes and not play the damsels in distress waiting to be saved. My first strong female protagonist and my love affair with comic books began. Through Wonder Woman I watched Batman and met Batgirl played by Yvonne Craig. A female who was a book smart librarian by day and motorcycle riding crime fighter by night, yup I was hooked. Now here I have to give a nod to Kato from the “Green Hornet” because watching Bruce Lee kick and punch his way onto the screen obviously left a mark on me. To me Kato was pretty damn cool, he got to drive (Robin never did) he never got captured (Robin always did) and Kato didn’t need a utility belt. He was perfection in my eyes.
The Muppets-this might seem odd but the Muppet show taught me about imagination and through them I learned to appreciate all that Jim Henson brought to the world of storytelling. From the “Dark Crystal” to “Labyrinth” Henson’s idea to push further was a key element I took with me. But most of all, to never lose touch with your imagination. I still watch the Muppets to this very day and find myself catching nuances I didn’t notice. Henson has a knack for nuance.
“In search of with Leonard Nimoy“- This show was on in the late seventies but repeated throughout the eighties and it hooked me as a kid. The show was all about unsolved mysteries and Cryptids. Cryptids are creatures not yet proven to exist like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. I am still obsessed with Lake Monsters and have a news alert set for the Loch Ness monster. The show usually featured one, maybe two topics and went over the evidence screening eyewitness accounts. It was my first taste of the unsolved mystery machine and the idea there was more to this world. If I mixed all of these elements together, I believe you would get my world. It’s a little strange, a bit mysterious, nothing is as it seems, the women are all very self sufficient, imbued with a strong sense of justice and there is a lot of imagination. Add a dash of Looney Tunes cartoons for sarcasm and that is the Veil and the Fae. My writing is heavily influenced by these factors. Henson, Nimoy, Wonder Woman, Lucas, Disney and that Crazy Wabbit. If you can relate, we are going to have so much fun.