Inspirations and Influences

Blue Diablo Virtual Tour – Guest Author and Giveaway: Ann Aguirre on Inspiration and Influences

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.

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  • orannia
    April 7, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Oh, I’m first! How exciting 🙂

    Thank you so much Ann for such an insightful post 🙂 I have a question, if I may please? I know you said that for you it’s about the hard work and dedication/diligence, but…I’m wondering if there are ever times when you can’t concentrate? When the words don’t flow and things outside your sphere of influence sneak in…. How do you block out whatever it is that disrupts you and find that balance again? Thank you ❗

    And yes, I remember the Little Golden books!

    Ana & Thea – I really like this type of post 🙂

  • Ana
    April 7, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Thanks Orannia – I am glad you like it, because there are loads more to come 😉

  • Maered
    April 7, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Great post, Ann! I love Nora, too. She really is an inspiration. Her In Death books are AMAZING.

    So, what other genres would you like to write? Or maybe, what genres do you think you could never write about?

  • CrystalGB
    April 7, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Hi Ann. Wonderful post. Very inspiring. I love your books.

  • Kat
    April 7, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Do you have a Nora bobblehead to watch over you while you work? And is it dressed like a nun?

  • KMont
    April 7, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Just stopping in to say hi to Ann and the Smugglers! *waves*

    This was a really great post with a clear, wonderful message. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ann Aguirre
    April 7, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Orannia, I do sometimes have a hard time focusing. This last book I wrote was especially difficult because I only wanted to think about gearing up for Blue D’s release. So everyday it was a struggle to stay on task and get my words done.

    But more often than not, I fought through and did it and met my self-imposed deadline of end of March.

  • Ann Aguirre
    April 7, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Maered, I don’t think I could ever be a mystery writer.

    Thanks, Crystal!

    Kat, I WISH I had a Nora bobblehead.

  • Ruth
    April 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I am reading my Kindle version and how much of the description of Corinne’s shop and home in Mexico is similar to your own?

    I am catching a 4 hour flight to NJ so I hope to finish by the time I land.

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Wow, cool! The descriptions of Mexico City are, in fact, very similar to what I have near my home.

    Can´t wait to hear what you think.

  • Angie
    April 7, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Wow, that is a great story about listening to Shel Silverstein read. I would have loved that in fifth grade.

  • ArkansasCyndi
    April 7, 2009 at 10:31 am

    So another blog and another chance to win Blue Diablo! I think I’m stalking Ann all over the internet! 😀

    And Ann – I DO have a Nora Bobblehead on my desk. She’s like a magic 8-ball. I ask her questions and she nods yes for the answer (have to be careful how I phrase the questions!)

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I so envy you that bobblehead. I want one!

  • Bonnie Ferguson
    April 7, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Great post! 😀 And Nora is definitely inspiring. 😀

  • Lou
    April 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Yup, I’m stalking all the give aways of Blue Diablo. Kidding…sort of. 😀

    Thanks for sharing that with us Ann. Someday your work and style may perhaps influence people- like Nora has with you!

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I don´t mind the stalking, Lou. *g*

    Hm, now I am on the ´net searching for a Nora bobblehead…

  • Chris
    April 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Charles de Lint was my gateway drug to urban fantasy, too! 🙂

  • pidute
    April 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

    you talk about the writer that inspired you ,what about writer you hate (or loved and now hate) or don’t wish to become ?

    hum …i realize you might not want to answer that question …..(those stuff can come back to bite you in the bottom in 20 years 😕 )

    so what mistakes do writer (in your opinion) should avoid ?

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I don´t think I should sit in judgment on other authors. Mistakes to avoid…

    Well, there´s a GREAT story about my n00b journey on

  • Pam P
    April 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Ann. Do you draw your character traits/personalities from yourself or others you know?

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I do sometimes. I never take a real person and stick them unaltered in my books, though.

  • Ericka
    April 7, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Ann,
    Wow I read several of the same ones you started off naming also at an early age. My enjoyment didn’t translate into becoming a writer tho :). I still enjoy visiting someone elses world.

  • Nicole D
    April 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Great post! I always love to hear what inspires the authors I read. Thanks again.

  • Ann
    April 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I am not sure I got all the nuances, but I just loooooooooooved carrying around a big, thick book and reading it just to prove I could.

  • Sue
    April 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Ann! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about writing and inspiration. Since a child I always wanted to be a writer. Alas, I never had the patience to sit on one spot and write. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Jessica Kennedy
    April 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Did I make the deadline?!?! Looking forward to this book!

  • Donna S
    April 7, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing some of you inspirations. Those are some great authors you listed. And Nora Roberts is one of my favorites, whether it is under her name or the In Death series under JD Robb.

    I have been reading a lot about Blue Diablo and it sounds great. I cant wait to get the chance to read it.

  • Ann Aguirre
    April 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Jessica, you made the deadline, but I think that you won a copy of this over on Something Wicked. Go look!

  • Collette
    April 7, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    It’s really interesting to see how different authors approach their writing. Thanks for sharing that with us. The butt in chair philosophy would work well for many things, I think.

    And I think someone might have given my son some Little Golden books when he was born. I’ll have to check and see if that’s really true. But yes, I definitely remember those.

  • Ann Aguirre
    April 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    By my count it is after midnight, so I am posting the winner. ArkansasCyndi, email me with your name and mailing info at ann.aguirre at

    Unless Ana or Thea lock the post, you can keep commenting but it will win no books. *g*

    Thanks so much for having me here. It has been a blast.

  • Ana
    April 8, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments and thank you Ann! 😀

  • orannia
    April 8, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Thank you Ann!

    And congrats ArkansasCyndi 🙂

  • Peter
    April 8, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Hi my name is Peter I am a romance reader and I sometimes read science ficton. This month I am reading a novel titled; True Love Is Not Common. You can’t wait to read this book. Try it!

  • Ann
    April 8, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Peter. it´s a little rude to advertise books without any other message pertinent to what´s being discussed on the blog.

  • carolyn jean
    April 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I know I’m too late for this contest. but what a wonderful post! I loved it. Good for you, Ann.

  • Christine
    April 17, 2009 at 10:04 am

    …… almost two weeks later…..

    This is a fabulous post, Ann. I admire your honesty. I know writing does indeed take talent, but behind that is a ton of hard work and discipline. Very inspiring for anyone who has a goal, not just writers. 😀

  • Peter
    April 30, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Thanks everyone who has added a word to my post. It is really encouraging.The story isof various couples and the love they shared or did not share….the contest is on no late comers

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