Hey guys! I’m super excited to have my pal Eric Smith, author & publishing rockstar at Quirk Books, here on the blog to celebrate his debut YA fantasy — which was out this past Tuesday and we’ll be celebrating TONIGHT here in Philly at Tattooed Mom!
I love hearing what books inspired authors so I’m excited that Eric is going to be dishing on what books inspired HIM while writing Inked!!
Like most kids, I grew up reading Young Adult novels. My parents regularly took me to the library to pick up whatever I wanted. However, most of my reading was focused on classic science fiction, adventure, and fantasy novels, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a family that really encouraged my ravenous reading habits. I read a ton of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I revisited YA for the first time.
Why’d I come back? Well, here are the five books that made that happen, and inspired me to attempt writing in that genre.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Ransom Riggs): By day, I work at Quirk Books, an awesome indie publisher in Philadelphia. And in the Fall of 2012, we published Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Now, as the marketing and social media guy, it’s important for me to be familiar with the communities I’m sending books to. So while Ransom’s debut was in the works, I started picking up other YA novels I saw bloggers talking about.
I read. And I read. And I read some more.
Suddenly, I found myself devouring two or more YA novels a week, taking advantage of Kindle deals, picking up novels I spotted on blogs, and catching up on a genre I hadn’t been a part of in years. It also introduced me to some of my now-favorite YA authors (some of whom I’ll list below), including Suzanne Collins, Beth Revis, and Kat Zhang.
Working on the marketing for Ransom’s book, gave me the kick-in-the-pants to start reading the genre again, and immediately made me want to start writing in it. I wanted to tell stories of magic and adventure, much like the books I’d read as a kid and the novels I was now reading as an adult.
I’m thrilled to see Ransom where he is now, and really glad I got to promote those books of his. He inadvertently gave me a big push in the right direction.
SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY (Susan Dennard): Ah, this series. I talk about Susan Dennard’s amazing steampunk-zombie-fantasy series whenever I can, to the point that it likely annoys my friends and followers. But oh well. Deal With It Dot Gif. It’s a favorite of mine, and one of the books I picked up when I started doing some more “I wonder if I can write in this genre” research. I immediately devoured her awesome first book, and followed the series right after.
She also has a really great blog, where she dishes out advice and tips to writers. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re writing.
BLACK HOLE SUN (David Macinnis Gill): Ah, this sci-fi series. It’s like a Young Adult version of Firefly on Mars, with pop culture references to World of Warcraft smattered in. Gill’s snarky characters and quick dialogue showed me that you could have that the sarcastic, snippy characters I wanted to write could totally work in an imagined world.
I also think his series is incredible underrated. If you haven’t checked these books out, please do. They are so hilarious and exciting. One of my favorite pieces of YA science fiction.
HERO (Perry Moore): Originally, I was really interested in writing some kind of superhero story, and the choices in YA superhero tales were far and in between. Perry Moore’s amazing novel, Hero, broke my heart and caused plenty of ugly crying, but showed me the real power of what YA fiction could do. Stuff that, probably as a kid, I didn’t recognize right away. It could teach you the importance of being true to yourself, accepting others, etc.
It’s still one of my favorite Young Adult novels, and probably one of my favorite books ever, period.
OF POSEIDON (Anna Banks): Anna’s YA romance series about mermaids was another one of the early YA books that I picked up. It was an eBook deal, and I read through it pretty quickly, and actually learned about a lot of authors thanks to her on Twitter.
She’s great at blending elements of fantasy and romance, something I really wanted to do in my own writing. Seriously check out her series, and keep an eye out for Joyride, her next book due out this year. As of this post, I’m about halfway through it, and it is just fantastic.
Thanks Jamie, for having me! And readers, go ahead and enter the lil’ giveaway below for a chance to win a bundle of the books I just mentioned! One lucky winner will get a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED. Good luck!
Thanks to Eric we have a nice giveaway bundle for you! One lucky winner will win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED!