I thought I would follow up my post from last month on some of the influences for my story “A Darkquick Sky”, which appeared in ShadowSpinners, A Collection of Dark Tales, by attempting to answer a few questions related to my work in general.
What book do you feel has had the most influence on you as a writer?
If I had to pick one, I’d say The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux, because reading it, in between my sophomore and junior year in high school, really inspired me to want to write fiction. But many many books have influenced me as a writer, both from before and after that time. As a kid my favorite reading materials included The Savage Sword of Conan, which I acquired with my saved allowance after walking several miles to a drugstore where they sold comic books, and A Little Treasury of Modern Poetry, which I found on my parents’ bookshelf. As an adult, all the books that have blown me away or changed my life, regardless of genre, are a constant inspiration and influence. Here’s a few favorites off the top of this constantly evolving list:
Narrow Road to the Interior – Basho
The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
Middlemarch – George Elliot
Mona Lisa Overdrive – William Gibson
The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
Victoria – Knut Hamsun
Beowulf – tr. Seamus Heaney
Dune – Frank Herbert
Against Nature – J.K. Huysmans
Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata
West with the Night – Beryl Markham
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind – Hayao Miyazaki
Gateway – Frederik Pohl
Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Aeneid – Virgil
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
Of your own work, what is your favorite?
That is a difficult question. I think all writers must develop a fondness for their own stories … even the ones that didn’t pan out. But to say one doesn’t have favorites would be dodging the question I suppose. A story called “Waking the Forest” comes to mind, as it’s one of my more serious and perhaps literary stories. But there are many others, and I would be remiss not to mention the epic trilogy of fantasy novels I spent twelve years writing. A lot of sweat and love goes into such a long project, and I’d have to say above all it is my favorite.
What’s up next for you?
I have so many works in progress at the moment, and I’m very excited about all of them. I recently finished a hugely successful $23,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund a tabletop card game called Labyrinth of Souls, and I’ll be working on that intensively until we ship to our backers in June. I have a number of other game projects in various stages of development. I should have a new short story ebook coming out soon called “The Menace of Dupere”, and I’m working toward putting together a collection of my horror stories. I’m currently seeking an agent and/or publisher for my trilogy of fantasy novels, and I have a number of ideas for my next novel waiting in the wings. And at some point I’m going to finish that time traveling wizard story I started a few months back …
You can find out more about my work on my website: matthewlowes.com