Dragons and other mythical creatures figure into so much of my fiction, that I thought they deserved their own page.
My love of fantasy was first sparked not by literature, but Jim Henson’s movie “The Dark Crystal.” While I was a fan of books before I saw it, that movie firmly grounded my tastes in fantasy for the rest of my life.
The next fantasy I fell in love with was also a movie, the cartoon of Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn.” I read the book not long after I saw the movie and, while I did not appreciate the humor and metafictive elements of the story, it instantly became my life-long favorite book. The opening sequence of the film uses images from the unicorn tapestries, which would later inspire my book “Tapestry Threads.”
When I was in middle-school, I found the Dragonlance books, which, of course, made me a fan of dragons. I still find it amazing that, years later, my first published book would be in the Dragonlance world.
In high school I stumbled across Alida Van Gore’s book “Mermaid’s Song.” I’ve always been drawn to the sea and Van Gore’s underwater building remained unsurpassed by any book I read until I read Kirsten Cashore’s work. But Cashore works on dry land, so Van Gore’s still holds that title in my book. 🙂
I was always somewhat of a fearful child about movies (I was scared by Large Marge in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!), so it wasn’t until college that I became interested in horror. I started with Stephen King’s books after someone in one of my writing classes said that my fantasy was similar to his. It was about that time that I also became interested in movie special effects, and I found that watching movies when I could focus on the camera tricks allowed me to focus on the story and not be scared. In later years I became a big fan of zombie movies (the quintessential one being “Shaun of the Dead,” which parallels my love of “The Last Unicorn” in that I like fantasy that KNOWS that it’s fantasy and gives the fantasy or horror lover something to giggle over as well as enjoy). This love of zombies helped when I wrote my second book, “Young Wizards Handbook: How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-On Activities for Monster Hunters.”
Lately I’ve been thinking about unicorns a lot, since that’s the topic of my latest book. Mermaids and ghosts are also in the works!