OK, following on from my quite serious post last week about the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, I think it is time for something a little lighter in tone. This week I’m going to talk about the influences on my writings and the authors whose work I regularly enjoy. For now I’ll cover fiction and I’ll undoubtedly write more about the comic book creators whose work I love at a later date but I don’t want to ramble on too much so I shall limit myself to authors of prose. Anyway, a little while ago a kind person who had read my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, left me this review on Amazon UK:
“I really enjoyed this book, it’s witty, intelligent, and it has a good pace to it. If you like Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett you will probably enjoy this book. Don’t take this book too seriously though, it’s a comedy caper, not a religious book, but it might have you thinking about life the universe and everything in a couple of places.” Here is the link to the review for anyone who would like to see it: http://tinyurl.com/pgjd68z.
Now, this is obviously, a very nice review but before long I expect to get some less pleasant ones, especially considering that my book satirises religion. My tweets advertising my book have even been retweeted by overtly religious people and so I think that eventually someone with strong religious convictions will read it and will let me know their thoughts on the matter. I doubt this will be very pleasant but having written and self-published this work I have willingly put myself in this position. This, however, is not really the point of this post. The point is to talk about the influences on my writing and those to whom someone else (not me) might feasibly compare my work.
Now, I should not really compare my work to anyone else’s for it is not for me to make such comparisons. But, for the sake of argument, I’m going to start with the two names mentioned above. Now, it is an honour and a privilege to be mentioned in the same breath as late greats like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and, though I cannot say if I have succeeded, I do not for a moment doubt that my work has drawn on them both. Writing a comedy novel that involves God, demons, angels and humans it would be almost impossible not to be compared to Good Omens, the wonderful work by Mr. Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and, seeing as I have read almost everything published by all three of these authors I would also say that it would be very difficult indeed for me to not have them as influences when I am writing.
And, of all the authors whose work I love, Mr. Pratchett, Mr. Adams and Mr. Gaiman are indeed those to whom I most aspire to be compared. I have read the entirety of The Discworld from The Colour of Magic all the way to the last book, The Shepherd’s Crown. I consider The Graveyard Book to be one of Neil Gaiman’s finest works and I own a lovely hardcover copy that I intend to get signed by him when I get a chance. And the Hitchhikers guide was not only essential reading when I was growing up but something that I regularly return to when the mood takes me. These are the writers who have had the largest influence on me by some considerable distance and being spoken about in the same breath as any of these wonderful writers is an honour.
But there are also other authors whose work I always read and who I also consider to be influences on my writing. I have written another book, a science-fiction novel entitled ‘Balancing Act’, and in doing so have drawn on my love of science fiction including authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Paul Cornell and Stephen Baxter, all of whom I have been fans of for some time. And of course the late Iain M. Banks, whom I would also love to have met. His work will and should be an influence on anyone writing science fiction for many years to come. I have also read every book published by Christopher Brookmyre and intend to continue doing so. Other authors I enjoy include Mike Carey, Mark Haddon, Phillip Pullman and Robert Rankin. In my opinion one cannot be a writer until you have spent many years reading and I, like many authors, have torn my way through one book after another for as long as I can remember. I expect that I always will although my interests are now split between fiction, comics and non-fiction.
Now, I have obviously missed my chance to ever meet Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and that I regret but there is nothing I can do about that now. Were I ever to meet Neil Gaiman, and I certainly intend to do so to get my copy of The Graveyard Book signed, I don’t even know what I would say. I suspect I would stand there, star struck and dumbstruck, wanting to tell him how much I adore his work and yet saying nothing. That is how I expect it to go but then he must get that all the time so I’m sure he’s used to it. I would also love to meet the other authors I have mentioned in this post and expect to be equally star struck by them. Actually, I look forward to it!
You know, now that I get towards the end of this blog post, I’m not even sure what the point of it was. But then it isn’t entitled ‘Ramblings’ for nothing, I suppose. I guess the point is this: if you read my novel, and I hope that you do, I am sure you will see influences in there that I am not even aware of. And if you do read it, and you enjoy it, then please let me know and post a review on whichever site from which you obtained it. I would very much like to know what you hear in my words and what you see in the story. I look forward to every review that someone sends me, even the ones that I probably won’t enjoy, but, as ever, we’ll see.
Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ which is out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!