Influential author

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http://www.julietmarillier.com

Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors. I stared reading her novels a dozen years ago, starting with her first novel Daughter of the Forest. Now she has over twenty novels in print.

Here is a part of her bio from her shiny new web-site that launched today. (Every few years, as she gets more popular, her web-site gets reworked.)

Juliet has been a full-time writer for about twelve years, after working as a music teacher and public servant. She was born in Dunedin, New Zealand – the most Scottish city outside Scotland itself – but now lives in Western Australia. Juliet’s novels combine historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. The strong elements of history and folklore in her work reflect her lifelong interest in both fields. However, her stories focus above all on human relationships and the personal journeys of the characters.

Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and her spiritual values are often reflected in her work – the human characters’ relationship with the natural world plays a significant part, as does the power of storytelling to teach and to heal.

When not writing, Juliet is active in the field of animal rescue, and she shares her home with a small pack of rescue dogs. She has four adult children and seven grandchildren.

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The reason why Juliet is influential to me is because of the way she writes setting and imagery. As her bio states, she is a member of the druid order. I added the link to druidry.org because their mission statement comes alive in her writing. I have written about setting before on my blog, including this post. Setting and descriptions are crucial to me. Some readers and authors alike get impatient with flowery descriptions and details. Not me. I’ve been a long time Tolkien fan and never once thought his descriptions go too long. (okay, maybe once :)) But my point is that I love nature and therefore I love when a setting inhales and exhales like a main character.

I encourage you to read some, or all, of her books if you are a fan of fantasy, mythology, fairy tales, romance, and history.

Some of my favorite books of hers are:

Son of Shadows (my favorite) Book Two in Sevenwaters series.

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So there you have it. Someday I’d love to visit her in Australia and then hop over to her homeland New Zealand and go on a Lord of the Rings tour. Two of my favorite authors in one trip! Wouldn’t that be grand!

Anyone else a fan of Juliet Marillier or who are some of your influential authors? I’d love to hear.

-Happy writing and reading

Tara

Do our tastes revert back to being a child? Here’s mine.

 

Recently, I attended a writers workshop where we talked about resonance within the genre that you write.

“Learn the language so you don’t sound like a fraud.”

Because fantasy is bone deep with me, I am going to dwell there in my writing for a while. I feel very comfortable within its realm. That is another reason why I love going to fantasy conferences and such. They are my people. I could chat about otherworldly things, forever.

I think back to everything I loved pre-junior high. Something happens to us in jr. high, where our tastes no longer become our own. We become jaded and want to impress others.

Below are some of my favorite things as a child and how I have incorporated them into my writing. These have become a part of my history and makeup. They are woven into my veins just as memory and DNA make who I am. As an adult, my tastes still run along what I couldn’t get enough of as a child.

When it comes to writing and reading, I love fantasy and magical realism.

My first two books that became published, were women’s contemporary fiction. I had written other books previous, but they will never see the light of day, unless I do major overhauls. Contemporary fiction means it could happen in real life. My books were stories that I needed to get out at the time. I will do more like them eventually, but the next 6 books in my queue all have fantasy elements and are geared toward young adult readers.

FAVORITE THINGS AS A CHILD THAT RESONATE WITH ME TODAY:

MOVIES:

– Labyrinth. Oh David Bowie, the Goblin King! My first crush, swoon. Honestly, this was one of the most influential of my entire childhood. This was the first time I was introduced to the seduction and the sympathy to the dark side. Ah, and then he would sing and I would just melt. I would watch the entire show just for this song. “As the World falls down.”

– Legend. The conversation below was life changing to me. “The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity. Through dreams I influence mankind.” I think this whole movie had amazing conversations, especially at the end when they defeat the darkness. “What is light without dark? What are you, without me? I am a part of you all. We are brothers, eternal.”

– Princess Bride. “As you wish.” Need I say more.

– Anything with a horse… when turned into a unicorn, even better.

– The Dark Crystal and The NeverEnding Story. Loved them and was truly frightened of the nothing! “What is the nothing?” “It’s the emptiness that’s left… the despair. People who have no hope are easy to control. And whoever has the control, has the power.”

ANIMATION:

– The Last Unicorn. This was my favorite animation of all time… ever. Yes, it’s creepy and weird and fueled many nightmares. But I loved it back then. Here’s a funny article I found about the movie.

The 20 Creepiest Moments from “The Last Unicorn”

– Robinhood. This animated disney trumped all the princess movies for me.

– The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. We would watch all of the animated films from the ’70’s over and over and over.

I really wanted the Orcs to break into this song in Peter Jackson’s rendition. 🙂

– The Secret of Nimh

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BOOKS:

– Bridge to Terabithia. – First book that made me cry. I realized books have a magical power and influence on our emotions.

The Hobbit. My love of the LOTR books came later in high school. Although, I was very familiar with the story because of all animated films.

– The Witches.

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POETRY:

– Where the sidewalk ends.

– The Highwayman. This narrative poem is without question, the number one reason why I fell in love with words. Back in the day, I had it memorized, much in the same way Anne did in Anne of Green Gables.

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“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding…

… He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand, But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand, As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast; And he kissed its waves in the moonlight, (O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!) Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.” The Highwayman – Alfred Noyes

FAIRYTALES:

Rumplestilskin.

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Twelve Dancing Princesses.

– Red Riding Hood.

TOYS:

– Horses.

– Unicorns.

– Brothers action figures.

PAINTINGS:

– I loved everything Pre-Rapheilite and of course fantasy art.

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I just started a Pinterest board of things that influenced me as a child that now resonate into my writing.

What genre do you write in and what are some of the details that resonate with you?

Happy writing-

Tara

Branding… are we cattle or something???

“Step right up and let me assess your brand,” said the man in front of the velvet frosted counter. He tipped his top hat at me and then the magician at the eclectic carnival waved his magic wand.

I responded, “okay.” Because, well, who doesn’t want to know what in the world our brand is.

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(image found on entertainment.inquirer.net)

His cape and bow tie, tinged with green silk and pressed to perfection, moved with grace as he bowed down in front of me. His gaze lingered at my shoes because, well, look how awesome they are.

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Our eyes met again and when they did so, I noticed them glint behind his round spectacles.

“You obviously use your pen to wield great and terrible poetry,” he said. “You are a poet. Come hither, oh great one, and let me sell you a tale or two.”

****

None of this exchange actually happened, but my over active imagination saw this in full detail. I think the only real comparison was the perfectly coiffed mustache that splayed out from the corners of his smiling mouth. I do remember that fabulous mustache and maybe that is what sparked my imagination.

How this really played out was that I was at a fun fantasy and sci-fi writers conference for a bit this weekend. The guy behind the velvet covered table recruited people as they passed to enter into his competition for short stories and poetry anthologies that he published.

“You write poetry, don’t you?” he said as I walked by. I thought of the boxes and boxes in the basement full of discarded rhymes and riddles that I had marked as steaming piles of garbage that should never see the light of day.

I nodded my head. “Why yes, yes I do.” Okay, so maybe there were a few of them that deemed worthy of sunlight.

“Great, I knew it. I could just tell.”

I raised my eyebrows. A bit suspicious and a bit flattered.

“Well,” he said, handing me a flyer. “Let me tell you about this really cool opportunity…”

****

Earlier, like cattle, the crowd mooooved between classrooms where we could feed ourselves and munch on what other authors had to say. I sat through horror classes because I love to read and write horror. I sat through the genesis of mythology and folklore class because I use an over abundant display of that in my work in progress. Then there was the picture book class, the paranormal romance what-nots, and the marketing do-nots.

That conference experience didn’t really fill my brain with new, mind blowing insight, but I did learn some fun things and I went because, as an author, I believe we should remain teachable as I have shown in this post. But my experience with that conference did leave me wondering… what is my brand?

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When I show up, do people envision me wearing armor because of my rally cry like in this post? If they do, I sure hope I have a sharp sword and majestic shield.

Or am I seen as a skier or a rock climber or a gardener?

But what about when it comes to writing? I know I am still a novice author. I probably should have thought about branding as a child and decided that I only wanted to write in one genre of fantasy, or horror, picture books, or romance. I should have, but didn’t. Now I am stuck here with a polyglot jar of genres.

I believe my brand will evolve as I evolve in my writing. As I publish more books, I will find my niche. Or maybe it will find me as I just continue to write for myself and not for others.

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I suggest you just write. Don’t follow the crowd that often leaves you confused. I don’t think any of us know where we are going anyway. Maybe we are even following each other to the slaughter houses. So just write what is in you.

Often times the world doesn’t need your story at this point. You need your story.

I have a vision what I would like my brand to be. But then again, who didn’t dream of being the homecoming queen, or the captain of some sports team, or even the school newspaper photographer. Yes, I am referring to the cliques we find in high school. The more I go to these conferences, the more I see the similarities.

But people do classify, and readers often find an author they like because of the writing style. They become loyal because they know what to expect from you. In the meantime just write, write, write and your brand will show up… just like magic.

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I love to hear from you. What is your brand? Do you have one? If so, how have you created your brand?

Happy writing –

Tara