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Influential novels (1 Viewer)

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What novels read in your youth inspired you to become an author?
They don’t have to be classics, or even very good. Just a story that captured your imagination and caused you to think: I’d like to write something like that.
For me, it boils down to only two books:

  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Those works showed me that stories can be more than simple rollicking adventures, they can have meaning and inspire contemplative thought.
What books influenced you?

Mark Twain't

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Firefox Down by Craig Thomas. I really enjoyed the movie 'Firefox' with Clint Eastwood (a much underrated film) and when I saw that the author had written a sequel, I bought it and, as I was commuting into London at the time, it gave me plenty of scope for reading. I managed to get through it in one working week and decided that I wanted to write one of my own.

The fact that it took me over 30 years to get around to it is a whole different story! 🤪


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I actually got into writing in my early twenties after spending years reading Harry Potter and a bunch of YA (mostly vampire-yes, even Twilight) fantasies.

I was inspired to push the quality of my writing and actually figure out how to get published after:
East of Eden-John Steinbeck
Oryx and Crake-Margaret Atwood
Wild Seed-Octavia Butler
Those are the standouts for me. No matter how much time passes, I remember their style and stories and impact, and it makes me want to tell a story that does those things for someone else.


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I am going to say I wanted to write because of the hobbit and lord of the rings. One of my English teachers said that I give an example of a book that I liked. I was ashamed at first at saying lord of the rings for my own reasons. Because what does the hobbit and lord of the rings teach? I didn't know the answer. The English teacher said it was a tale of greed. That made me feel better. Somehow, I got the feeling they are not very deep reads for everyone. They are meant for entertainment. Even still some people complain about the war going on and questioning where the story went in that section of the novel. Supposedly in that part it pulled them out and was a slog.

I bought many books because of these two.


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I read all the generic classics as a kid, but I didn't really get into literature until I was a late teen/young adult. I got hooked on stuff like Neuromancer, Dune, the Witcher, a bunch of Heinlein and Raymond Chandler. I think there's two common elements going on here: 1.) dark tone and 2.) experimental storytelling.


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I've been inspired more by authors than any novel-
-Issac Asimov. He had a way of explaining even the deepest subjects clearly, simply and intelligently.
-Orson Scott Card's characters have breadth and depth. He can make you hate the hero and empathize with the villain.
-Elmer Keith was a crusty Idaho rancher who wrote about firearms, hunting, adventure and pushing revolvers of the era to their limits.
-Skeeter Skelton wrote about his adventures on the Texas-Mexican border as a Border Patrol Officer, gun swapper, hunter and shooter.
-Robert Heinlein because his stories made boys want to be men.
-Dr.Seuss because he taught me to hear the rhythm and music in the spoken word.
-Louis L'Amour. His heroes and heroines were larger than life- taller than the mountains and lived lives that spilled over the horizon.
-Andre Norton. Spaceships, magic and cats.


Staff member
People can get awfully tired of seeing me mention Heinlein {waves to Joker and Mistwolf}. I read my first Heinlein the first month of the 4th grade (The Star Beast). I was reading it when Star Trek premiered. But the first time I considered writing, the story I had in mind was similar to a Brains Benton or Three Investigators book. I read a lot of those boys' mysteries as a kid. I still want to write a good mystery, which is one reason I'm plotting one now.

By Jr High I was reading more Heinlein (and knew who he was by then), Asimov, Norton, Lester del Rey (anyone else remember The Runaway Robot?).

It's a bit ironic that my first professional writing and my first few novels were all heroic fantasy, because I never read that as a kid. That all came after I started playing D&D as a young adult. Before that pretty much everything I read was either sci fi, mystery, midgrade adventure, or classics.


Senior Member
My biggest inspiration is probably everything written by Aleksandrs Grīns, especially his WWI masterpiece "Dvēseļu Putenis" (The Blizzard of Souls). Think of him as a Latvian Ernst Junger. A WWI veteran himself, he personally fought in many of the battles described in Blizzard of Souls.

Although Grīns has dabbled into various genres, he is primarily known for his action-adventure novels. The Blizzard of Souls is a patriotic epic featuring the adventures and sacrifices of a young Latvian Rifleman in WWI and the following Independence War. It was recently made into a movie that broke all domestic box office records and also got decent reviews abroad (I think it was marketed to foreign audiences as The Rifleman). To be honest, the movie was more bleak and depressing than the novel, if still overall true to the book.

Another favourite of mine is Laimonis Purs, a professional historian/archaeologist and novelist, also known for his adventure novels set in the Medieval-era Baltic lands. His novels are both packed with action and adventure, and also historically-accurate. As an archaeologist, Purs would go to great lengths to depict his characters and settings true to their time period down to minute details.

As for foreign authors, I recall liking Asimov and Heinlein a lot, though I only got around to reading them later in my life. I'm also a fan of Colleen McCullough's historical novels.
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