A recent reviewer just likened What Remains of Heroes (on sale over at Amazon!) to books by the great David Gemmell and R.A. Salvatore. Another to Anthony Ryan. Needless to say, I’m flattered by the remarks.

The comments also got me thinking about influences, those whose works I enjoy reading most. I’ve never tried to ape another writer—no decent writer should—though I suppose the styles of those we like help in some vague way to shape the way we like to write. So, since I’m stumped and puzzling over a certain chapter in Book 2, I’ve decided to list a few of those influences here.

I am a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. I mean, the man (R.I.P.) was a freaking genius. I was floored by Slaughterhouse Five, Sirens of Titan, Slapstick, Galapagos, etc. His stuff made me think and laugh and get choked up at times. I write nothing like him. I lack the brainpower. But if you are looking to dig into something other than fantasy, read his stuff. Read a lot of it.

Joe Abercrombie is a modern fantasy giant. I devoured The First Law trilogy and loved the way he painted his flawed but ever fascinating characters. Logen Ninefingers remains one of the Greatest. Characters. Ever. I must admit I’ve yet to read Red Country, though only because part of me doesn’t want that character’s story to end.

Mark Lawrence: another modern giant. Read the Broken Empire trilogy. His prose is as haunting and poetic as just about anything in those well-to-do, snobbier corners of literature, those corners populated by people with canes and monocles and top hats like those you see the New Yorker’s cartoons.

Stephen King’s Gunslinger is about as well written a book as I’ve come across. Certain turns of phrase and usages of otherwise antiquated words are a lesson in literary magic. I’m not a big fan of some of his more popular horror novels—that genre simply isn’t one for me—but this book tugged at my eyeballs until they nearly tumbled from my skull.

I loved the Dragonlance Chronicles. I really loved them.

Dune by Frank Herbert showed me how huge the scope of one’s imagination could be. The whole cosmology, the religious backdrop, the myths, the various mutations of humanity. Wow. And I was also mesmerized by they way he threw the reader inside the heads of his characters.

Anyway, there are many more. But I just figured out how I want to deal with that certain chapter in Book 2. I must listen whilst the muse sings…

Cheers, DB