⫸ (AKA If you like one or more of them you’ll probably find something you like in my work):⫷
⌯ Robin Hobb: Thoughtful examinations of character and a wide range of relationships. Major events happen in the world but her books feel somehow intimate. Her “Fitz” books were a major inspiration for the tone and characters of Seeker of the Lost Song and its sequel.
⌯ Kazuo Ishiguro: My biggest influence in “write whatever the fuck you want.” Introspection, memory, history. Writing to answer your own questions. Never Let Me Go inspired The Quiet is Loud, and The Buried Giant inspired Seeker of the Lost Song.
⌯ NK Jemisin: I discovered her shortly after I’d started writing TQIL and loved her down-to-earth writing style and genre-blending skill. Most of all I loved her characters, who feel heartbreakingly fractured and yearning and real.
⌯ Octavia E Butler: High-concept ideas and fantastical worlds, but also a focus on relationships and characters and the internal that is so intense, pulling away from them feels like a shock. (NB: I’m inspired specifically by the Xenogenesis/Lilith’s Brood trilogy)
⌯ Margaret Drabble: The original. From her I learned to love long sentences, to ask questions (sometimes directly in the text), to indulge in my overwhelming curiosity about the way people think and misunderstand each other and long for simple things that feel impossible.
I’m not a perfectly-formed child of these five people, but I really can’t extract their influences from my work. I can see some overall similarities: Focus on character that drives the plot instead of the other way around, seeing through the protagonist’s eyes and thoughts, imperfect people doing their best in a sometimes broken world, climactic moments that are driven by highly personal stakes.