YAY! I'm so excited for my friend, Christa. I had the pleasure of reading ILLUSION prior to its release, and it's SUCH a good book. Those of you who love intricate worlds and great science fiction/fantasy/space opera are going to love this one.
I asked Christa to guest post today as part of her blog tour. After reading her novel I was interested in who her biggest TV, movie, and author influences were and how they helped shape her novel, ILLUSION.
Take it away, Christa!
A single spark can start a fire.
Influences. I used to think I didn’t have any—that my writing voice was my own. Which is true. My writing style, flow, and tone are all me. But how those elements came together was a mish-mash of flickering sparks from all around me.
Multiple mediums of storytelling and multiple types of stories have guided me into finding my own voice. Here are the most influential writers from my life:
1) Stephen King—I started reading King in middle school. I devoured his books: Misery, IT, Carrie, The Shinning. I loved getting wrapped up in his characters. He could write pages (and he often did) about simple character backstory and I never felt bored. It was this quality that I brought to my own writing—characters whose own stories inside the plot are as captivating as the current situation.
2) Anne McCaffrey—I got into McCaffrey’s Pern series in the beginning of high school. She had the ability to create a realistic world with politics, culture, and wait for it... dragons! All of these things intermingled so well I never felt like I was on a different planet—just a different version of one I somehow already knew. Creating a believable, yet relatable, environment is instrumental in creating alternate places in my science fantasy books.
3) Joss Whedon—Buffy became a staple in my life in high school. I quickly became a Whedon fan, following his other shows /movies later. What drew me in was his incredible ability to balance humor with drama. He could have the world (literally) falling apart around the characters and be able to bring humor and heart to the situation without rupturing the mood. This is something I love putting in my writing—that delicate teeter-totter to keep a situation from being too melodramatic, but also showing these are real moments happening to the characters.
4) Edgar Allen Poe—Poe’s short stories jumped out at me late in high school. His detailed descriptions of settings not only added to the visual of the story, but actually increased the tension. If I could capture that—make the settings part of the ensemble, part of the mystery, I could use something that is usually considered background and bring it forward as its own contender.
5) Anne Rice—Introduced to her writing in early college, I was impressed by the way Rice could make horror enticing. Her books about vampires were described in sensual and flowery ways. Then suddenly she would make you remember that these were monsters. This duality made me realize I could take something a reader would expect, change its meaning and feel, and then flip it back again. I could play with normal scenarios and twist them, giving the reader a new way to look at and think about concepts they’d only envisioned a certain way.
So what does this mean for my newest novel, ILLUSION?
You will get characters whose backstories are as captivating as their present situation.
You will experience a foreign surrounding and yet feel completely at ease there as you grow with the characters.
You will feel a balance between tension and reality—no dramatics, just truth. No goofyness, just heart.
You will be brought into a full world, where every piece is important, from the pinpoints of light in space to the nuts and bolts of the spaceship.
And the boundaries of your senses, your emotions, and the concept of personal growth will be tested, relearned, and turned around when you least expect it, keeping you sucked in.
I am amazed at the amount of influence I’ve felt over the years. Stories have touched my soul, my heart, my head. They have swayed me to write the best of all of those worlds.
I hope you enjoy ILLUSION. Thank you for joining me along my blog tour! And special thanks to Jessica Therrien for being the hostess at the end of such a great experience!
Christa Yelich-Koth is the author of graphic novel HOLLOW, comic book series HOLLOW’S PRISM and upcoming science fantasy novel ILLUSION from Buzz & Roar Publishing. She has staffed and led a workshop at the Southern California Writer’s Conference, been a panelist at MiniCon, and was co-founder of Green-Eyed Unicorn Comics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is www.christayelichkoth.com.
ILLUSION can be purchased for pre-order (with an exclusive pdf schematic of the Horizon spaceship), at www.buzzandroarpublishing.com/our-books.