discussions my books

Influences etc.

Over at Speculative Scotsman, I’ve written a piece on six books that are a direct influence on the Legends of the Red Sun series.

One of the things I’m conscious of, as a writer, is to leave a trail of clues littered through my books so that people can see where I’ve been inspired by other writers. It’s important to acknowledge these things. So, textual clues aside, here are six books which helped shape the construction of my own books, to varying degrees.

1) The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. Now any such lists invite pretentious selections, but invoking this metaphysical classic of the 1950s isn’t me trying to appear clever – I learned a very important lesson about what book sequences can do from reading Durrell’s stylish masterpiece. Each book in the series undermines the previous novel, and minor characters suddenly become the focal point, giving the reader a completely different understanding on what went before. It was a revelation, and made me instantly consider such subtle tricks in my own books.

One of the comments, by Juhan, points to this interview with Roger Zelazny, who also describes the influence of The Alexandria Quartet on his own writing.

I liked that particular series just because of the way he retold the same story from different characters’ viewpoints. His was a more general comment on the fact that you can’t know everything. He could as easily have written a fifth book or sixth book and kept changing it.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s a fantastic series. If you can cope with the occasional headiness of the writing (personally, I adored it), and don’t mind a spot of complexity, then it’s well worth your time. Series writers will get a lot out of it.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.