Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Horror, fantasy and romance Part 2

When I was growing up I read a lot of fantasy. I loved the Narnia books by C S Lewis and I also loved the Andrew Lang books of fairy tales. There was one for each colour of the rainbow and, although they're now out of print, I can still remember the covers. Does anyone else remember them?

As I grew older I read Alan Garner. The Owl Service in particular made a big impression on me. When I found out it was based on the story of Blodeuwedd, which was to be found in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh folk tales and legends, I bought the Mabinogion. The version I bought had very evocative illustrations by Alan Lee, who of course went on to work on The Lord of the Rings films.

A year or so later I read The Lord of the Rings. My local library only ever had The Two Towers but I was intrigued by the cover and by the world I glimpsed inside so I went out and bought The Fellowship of the Ring. I then went on to read the trilogy many times. The characters now seem like old friends, and I love returning to the world of Middle Earth.

As I grew older I discovered American fantasy - I loved The Dragonbone Chair in particular - and continued reading English fantasy, including the weird but very atmospheric Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.

All these influences whirl around in my imagination, mixing with each other and changing subtly as they do so. Sometimes they stay there but sometimes they find their way into the book I'm writing. In the last few chapters of Mr Darcy, Vampyre I can definitely see a lot of fantasy influences. I don't want to give too much away, but the settings and atmosphere come from the world of fantasy.

I think that's why I found Mr Darcy, Vampyre such an absorbing book to write, because it has so many influences from a wide divergence of genres.


  1. I read those fairy tale books too and I loved them. Which was your favourite Narnia book?

  2. Hi Shelley, I think my favourite would have to be The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, but I really liked Prince Caspian too. Which was your favourite?

  3. I haven't read them all but Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair are good {;-)