Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Favorite Writer

If I had to name one author who has influenced me the most, it would be Piers Anthony. Don’t get me wrong, there have been others that I have loved, whose books have made up the building blocks of how I think and how I write. Jack Chalker, David Eddings, Raymond Feist, Orson Scott Card, Weis and Hickman, Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and countless others.  I’m not even saying my writing style is similar to Piers Anthony’s. But of all the writers whose books I have loved, there has never been one who has so consistently thrilled me as Piers Anthony.

My first encounter with his writing was A Spell for Chameleon, a Xanth novel. I was amazed that one book could contain not only the magic and adventure that I love, but also a very healthy dose of humor, satire, and fun. I believe I was 9 years old when I read it. The characters, the world and its rules, the setting, the dialog, everything was a revelation to me.  From there, I moved into other books of his, such as the Mode series, the Incarnations of Immortality (my favorite!), and too many more to list.

I continued reading Piers Anthony’s books. I can’t say I’ve read them all, or even that I’ve been a huge fan of all of them, but never once have I read a Piers Anthony book that I didn’t enjoy. And later, when he started including the “Author’s Notes” in the backs of many of his books, I read those eagerly as well. It was like a blog before there were blogs, a way to see into the background and look at the man who was producing these amazing stories.  Peeking into the mind of a writer whose work I enjoyed was always a treat, and I think is one of the big influences that led me to want to write my own books. And I can definitely say that his work ethic and writing method influenced me a great deal.

Nowadays, Piers Anthony has embraced modern technologies like POD, and is moving toward getting more of his books available in electronic format as well.  He operates a website filled with tips, insights, encouragement to independent authors, and his own sometimes meandering but always enjoyable thoughts. I go there sometimes to check up on my favorite writer, who is still out there making it happen nearly 30 years after my first encounter with his work. You can find the website here:

As I said, Piers Anthony isn’t the only writer to have influenced me. He’s not the only writer I’d love to meet, and love to share my work with.  But if I had to choose one, and only one, then there is one writer I’d like to sit down and have lunch with, one writer whose approval and encouragement I’d cherish, one writer out of all of those that I love that I would like to hear had not only read my work, but enjoyed it.  Piers Anthony.  So Piers, if you’re ever up for lunch and talking about how great you are, hit me up!

That being said, I hate leaving out any of my favorites, so Raymond Feist, Orson Scott Card, Geoff Johns, Brad Meltzer, Grant Morrison, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Kevin Smith, Alex Ross… I could go on, but I’d fill up the Internet with names… if you’re ever in the southern Indiana area, hit me up for lunch!  I’m buying!

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