Ann Aguirre is back for another stop on her Blue Diablo Virtual Tour! This time she wrote a guest post for our new feature: Inspiration and Influences and is giving away a copy of Blue Diablo – Thea and Ana really liked Blue Diablo by the way and you can read our review here
Ladies and dudes, please say hello to Ann Aguirre:
Inspiration plus Perspiration equals Genius?
Well, perhaps not always. You see, I don’t believe in the power of the muse. My writing isn’t governed by mood or impulse. For me, it’s built on discipline and commitment: to writing every day and meeting my word count goals and to finishing what I start. I believe in the power of working hard. You’ll understand when you learn who has been my greatest inspiration. She’s all about the perspiration.
But to lay some groundwork, I’ve always been in love with books. By age four, I was reading Little Golden storybooks. (Anyone remember those?) In kindergarten, I was so unspeakably bored that I spent most of my time painting in the back of the room while the others worked on Spot and Dick & Jane. By age eight, I was reading the classics: Jane Eyre, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Don Quixote. I had an insane vocabulary, but I couldn’t pronounce the words because I had never heard them spoken, only read them. But I knew what they meant.
From there, I fell into fantasy and romance. I read anything I could get my hands on. I think I was all of ten when I realized, you know, someone has to write all these books. I want to do that.
And so a dream was born. That same year, I wrote a mystery for a school competition. I illustrated the thing and hand-bound it. The Mystery of the Golden Doubloon went to state finals, where I got to sit on a square of carpeting and listen to Shel Silverstein read from Where the Sidewalk Ends. I cannot describe the awe I felt. He wrote books. His words were inside that wonderful, hardcover book. At that moment, my dream turned into longing. The yearning stayed with me all through high school and college, during which time I wrote two full novels and failed to sell them.
My love for books was a constant. Charles de Lint offered my first glimpse at urban fantasy. Next, I discovered Simon Green. Eventually, I found Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher. Since then I’ve read Rachel Caine, Kim Harrison, and many others. While none of them created my narrative voice, they all shared the common trait of being gifted storytellers, who made me care about their characters. I wanted to create that kind of magic myself; it’s powerful stuff.
If I’m being honest (and I am, I swear!), the author who has influenced my work the most is Nora Roberts, though not in any stylistic sense. I’ve always tried to stay true to my own narrative voice because that’s the only way I can offer the reader something authentic. Ms. Roberts has taught me a lot via example, however, as to how an author should comport herself online and she’s shaped my work ethic: no whining, butt in chair, write the book, do the job.
Nora said via email: “I’m sincerely flattered you’d name me as an influence. I love the idea of being there–like a watchful nun–telling you to stop whining and get to work!” Whenever I’m flagging, I consider how far Nora has come, not through magical muses or wishful thinking, but through plain hard work—and that, I can do, too. So I get back to it, and that’s how my books are born. In the last two years, I’ve written eight books and collaborated on a ninth. That doesn’t include the free stories I’ve written for the website, or the story I wrote for the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance.
Now, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. A random commenter will receive a copy of Blue Diablo, and I hope it works for you as well as the books that fed my dreams throughout the years.
Contest Rules: Contest lasts 24 hours and the winner will be randomly selected and announced here on this post tomorrow. Winner will also be contacted via email, and a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway. Good luck!!
And a HUGE thank you to Ann Aguirre for the inspiring post.