How Stories Connect Us (The Authors That Inspire Us)

How Stories Connect Us is a series of interviews which allows authors to talk about the books that have brought them great pleasure, the books that have influenced and inspired their own work.

As a review site our goal is to recommend the very best books we have read but the ever present question was always: How can we improve upon this recommendation service? And the simple answer was to allow the authors to recommend the books that have made a life-long and  lasting impressions upon them.

Please find below the latest How Stories Connect Us interviews and a list of author recommendations taken from our interview archive. The aim of this series is very simple – to help you to find books that you will love to read.

If you are an author who would like to participate in this series please email us.

Alex Marshall

Jesse Bullington author imageAlex Marshall is a pseudonym for Jesse Bullington, acclaimed author of several novels in different genres including The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart and The Enterprise of Death. He lives in Florida.

Chosen books:

  • Encyclopedia of Legendary Creatures by Tom McGowen and illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Kentaro Miura’s long-running dark fantasy manga Berserk

Edward M. Erdelac

Edward M. ErdelacEdward M. Erdelac is the author of nine novels, including the acclaimed Lovecraftian/weird western series Merkabah Rider and Andersonville. His fiction has appeared in dozens of anthologies and periodicals including most recently, the Stoker award winning After Death, Edge of Sundown, Atomic Age Cthulhu, Flesh Like Smoke, and Star Wars Insider Magazine. Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of kids.

Chosen books:

John R. Fultz

John R. FultzJohn R. Fultz lives in the North Bay Area of California but grew up in Kentucky. John’s Books of the Shaper trilogy includes SEVEN PRINCES, SEVEN KINGS, and SEVEN SORCERERS (Orbit Books). His short story collection, THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG, is a series of interrelated tales born in the pages of WEIRD TALES and BLACK GATE. John’s work has also appeared in YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION (Vol. 1), THAT IS NOT DEAD, SHATTERED SHIELDS, LIGHTSPEED: YEAR ONE, WAY OF THE WIZARD, CTHULHU’S REIGN, THE BOOK OF CTHULHU II, and other fine publications.

Chosen books:

Peter Orullian

Peter OrullianPeter Orullian is both fantasy author and musician. His debut fantasy series Vault of Heaven began with the publication of The Unremembered in 2011 and will continue in July 2015 with book two, Trial of Intentions.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Peter Orullian

Steve Diamond

Author Steve DiamondSteven Diamond founded and runs the review site, Elitist Book Reviews, which was nominated for the Hugo Award in 2013, 2014 & 2015. He writes for Baen, Privateer Press, and numerous small publications. Residue, a YA Horror novel, is his first full-length published work. His is also the editor of the Horror anthology, Shared Nightmares.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Steve Diamond

Gahan Hanmer

Gahan HanmerBorn into a family of actors and painters, Gahan Hanmer naturally gravitated toward the arts. As a youth, he was not an exceptional student or much of an athlete, but he received satisfaction and appreciation from the work he did on the stage, which began when he was eight years old. Under the guidance of his uncle actor Marlon Brando, Gahan developed his talent exclusively as a theatre artist, working with many inspired teachers and directors. In the classical theatre Gahan played soldiers, princes, kings and gods, along with beggars, villains, criminals and madmen. Trained in the Stanislavski ‘method’, living truly in the skins and minds of these characters, he absorbed what each of them had to teach him. Later in life, he began to try to organize some of what life had taught him in a novel of romance and adventure. Every night, after his two daughters were in bed, he became the main character in a perilous mythical journey and recorded it as it unfolded in his imagination. Years later, rewritten and revised many times and finally pruned and polished, the result was The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Gahan Hanmer

Genevieve Cogman

Genevieve CogmanToday I have the pleasure to speak with Genevieve Cogman, author of the fantastic and imaginative The Invisible Library.Genevieve has been kind enough to answer some questions about herself and her book, as well as contribute to our How Stories Connect Us section.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Genevieve Cogman

Brian McClellan

Author Brian McClellanBee wrangler, homemade jam enthusiast and author of the widely successful flintlock fantasy series, The Powder Mage Trilogy; Brian McClellan has kindly taken the time to speak with Fantasy Book Review for the sites How Stories Connect Us section.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Brian McClellan.

Damien Love

Damien Love, author of Like ClockworkDamien Love has written about movies, music and television for, among others, The Guardian, Uncut, The Sunday Herald and The Scotsman. He is also the author of Like Clockwork, an adventure serial full of magic, mystery, robots and derring-do originally published in six instalments.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Damien Love.

Paul Proffet

Paul Proffet, author of CrossOver.Paul Proffet lives in Cheltenham with his wonderful partner Tanya and a seemingly constant scuffle with indigestion. He works full-time in the private security industry and writes whenever he can. CrossOver is his debut novel and he has recently picked a fight with the sequel.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Paul Proffet.

Trent Jamieson

Trent JamiesonTrent is the author of the acclaimed Death Works and Nightbound Land novels. The Death Works series is an urban fantasy tale in which Death’s employees shepherd the recently deceased to the afterlife, easing their passing. That is until something goes wrong (and it usually does) and then even the departed want you dead. Trent’s other major work, The Nightbound Land, consists of two steampunk/fantasy style novels, Roil and Night’s Engines, which are set in a world being consumed by a great darkness, destroying the land and its people day by day. Its only hope is a four thousand year old man and a young woman intent on revenge. Trent is currently working on adapting one of his short stories, Day Boy, into a full-length novel, due for release in 2015.

Chosen books

Read the full interview with Trent Jamieson.

Renee Scattergood

Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood is the author of the Shadow Stalker series. She lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, their daughter, Taiya, and their four furry friends.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Renee Scattergood.

Avril Sabine

Avril SabineAvril Sabine is an Australian fiction writer who lives with her family on acreage in South East Queensland. She writes mostly young adult speculative fiction, but has been known to dabble in other genres.

Chosen books:

  • The World of Children
  • Tithe by Holly Black

Read the full interview with Avril Sabine.

Mercedes M Yardley

Mercedes M YardleyMercedes M. Yardley is a prolific short story writer whose longer works are just starting to hit the market. She is often referred to as a horror author, but her works tend to straddle a number of genres including horror, dark fantasy, and magic realism.

Chosen books:

  • Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook
  • The Star-Cleaner Reunion by Cooper Edens
  • The Forbidden Game by JL Smith
  • The Apparition by Michaelbrent Colling

Read the full interview with Mercedes M Yardley

Frank P Ryan

Frank P Ryan, author of The Three Powers Trilogy.Frank Ryan is a distinguished and multiple-bestselling author, in the UK and US. He is one of those rare writers who can write fluently and engagingly in both fiction and non-fiction.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Frank P Ryan

David Bowen

David Bowen, authorDavid Bowen was born, of that he is pretty much sure, although it was so long ago he can’t remember any of the specific details. He lives in Cardiff, Wales and describes himself as terminally single. He fervently denies ever being there and has no previous convictions. We talked to David about his influences and inspirations in September 2014, as part of our How Stories Connect Us series.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with David Bowen

Mystic Thompson

Mystic ThompsonMystic Thompson is a veteran educator currently teaching high school Physical Education in Metropolitan Los Angeles. Although she presently resides in California, she is a native Southerner who grew up in North Georgia. Despite the fact that she is slowly transitioning into a Californian, she is still very proud of her Southern heritage and maintains close ties to Southern culture.

Chosen books:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews
  • Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  • Amazonia by James Rollins

Read the full interview with Mystic Thompson

Benedict Jacka

Benedict Jacka became a writer almost by accident, when at nineteen he sat in his school library and started a story in the back of an exercise book. Since then he’s studied philosophy at Cambridge, lived in China, and worked as everything from civil servant to bouncer to teacher before returning to London to take up law.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Benedict Jacka

Chris F. Holm

Chris F. HolmChris F. Holm was born in Syracuse, New York to a mother from a cop family and a father from a long line of fantasy and sci-fi geeks. He’s been long listed for a Stoker Award and nominated for an Anthony, a couple Derringers, a Silver Falchion, a pair of Spinetinglers, and a handful of House of Crime and Mystery Readers’ Choice Awards, even racking up some wins along the way. His Collector novels recast the battle between heaven and hell as old-fashioned crime pulp. Chris lives on the coast of Maine with his lovely wife, writer and reviewer Katrina Niidas Holm. No, she hasn’t reviewed his books.

Chosen books:

Read the full interview with Chris F. Holm

We have also looked at every interview we have ever conducted on the site, spoken to the authors on social media and used author websites and Wikipedia to find what books have inspired the authors we love so much. These are the results:

Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson was born on the 7th October 1959 in Toronto, Canada. Erikson is his writing name, his real name being Steve Rune Lundin. Educated in Canada, he trained in both archaeology and anthropology before graduating from the acclaimed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has a wife and son and they currently live in Cornwall, UK. Erikson is best known and he is in particular famous for the fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

  • Before Adam by Jack London
  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Read our full interview with Steven Erikson

Jon Wallace

Jon Wallace is an author based in London, England. His debut novel, Barricade, is out now from Gollancz – the first in a trilogy. He has had several stories published in Interzone, plus others in Best British Fantasy 2013, Flashquake, The Fiction Desk and more.

  • Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell

Read our full interview with Jon Wallace

Robert Cargill

  • Firestarter by Stephen King

Mercedes M. Yardley

  • Families: The Ties that Bind and Gag by Ema Bombeck
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Book of Goodnight Stories by Vratislav Stovicek, Karel Franta and Stephen Finn

Adrian Faulkner

  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • Weaveworld by Clive Barker
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Stephen King

  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • 1984 by George Orwell

Lev Grossman

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White
  • Ulysses by James Joyce

Jerry Ibbotson

  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
  • The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates
  • The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper

Emma Vieceli

  • The Winter King by Bernard Cromwell
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Jasper Fforde

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Little Prince by Antoine De St. Exupery
  • The Calculus Affair by Herge

Curtis Jobling

  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Brandon Sanderson

  • Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
  • Promise of Blood by Brian McCellan

Lee Mather

  • IT by Stephen King
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Let The Right One In by John Avijde Lindqvist

Graham Thomas

  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Asterix by Gosciny and Uderzo

Michael West

  • Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

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