Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author and Giveaway: Jackie Morse Kessler on Inspirations and Influences

“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.”

We are very happy to welcome back to the blog the multitalented Jackie Morse Kessler, author of a YA series about the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as well as writer of Urban Fantasy, Comics (she is part of the Buffyverse CANON). She also writes the Icarus Project Series, a superhero series written in collaboration with Caitlin Kittredge. This time around, we have invited Jackie to talk about the second book in her YA series, Rage and what inspired her to write it.

Ladies and gents, please give it up to Jackie!

For The Love of Horsemen

By Jackie Morse Kessler

Under my adult-fiction byline, I tend to write about demons doing rather naughty things. So maybe it’s karma balancing itself out that for my teen-fiction books, one of my influences is the Book of Revelation in the Bible. I guess it’s more accurate to say it’s source material, because the first eight lines of chapter six pretty much sum up who, or what, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are: the White Rider, the Conqueror (whom some refer to as Pestilence; others interpret him to be the Antichrist); the Red Rider, War; the Black Rider, Famine; and the Pale Rider, Death (the only one of the Horsemen who is named). Basically, these are the folks who herald the end of the world. Um, yikes.

Now, you have to admit, with this as source material, there’s going to be some phenomenal stories out there about the Four Horsemen. Some of my favorite influences are:

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s GOOD OMENS.

Who says the end of the world can’t be funny? GOOD OMENS is one of my favorite books. Highly, highly, highly recommended. (And I’m not just saying that because Neil is my god of writing, or because I’m currently tearing my way through Terry’s Tiffany Aching series.)

Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series—specifically, ON A PALE HORSE.

This was the first book I read that featured people doing the work of anthropomorphic personifications. Brilliant stuff. I have a hat-tip to the book in LOSS, the third Riders of the Apocalypse book.

The villain Famine from Marvel Comics’ X-FACTOR. The first time I ever read about an anorexic teenage girl becoming Famine, it was in comic books. Autumn is a mutant with the power to destroy food. She gets recruited by a bad guy (called Apocalypse, natch) to be one of his henchmen. Er, horsemen. So she gets a spiffy costume and mask, rides a mechanical steed, and fights the good guys. Epic battles ensue. And that’s the end of her being an anorexic teenager; now she’s a supervillain.

But wait! Other authors are doing terrific things with Horsemen, such as Larissa Ione in her Lords of Deliverance series (I’m looking forward to reading ETERNAL RIDER). And there have been plenty of other Horsemen riding around, especially on television (Charmed, Supernatural), but I haven’t watched those shows (don’t yell at me! At one point, I’ll Netflix them) so I can’t call them influences. Still, it’s nice to see the Horseman love.

So if you had to be a Rider of the Apocalypse — Famine, War, Pestilence/the Conqueror, or Death — which one would you be?

Giveaway Details:

You heard Jackie! Answer her question “If you had to be a Rider of the Apocalypse — Famine, War, Pestilence/the Conqueror, or Death — which one would you be?” in the comments on this post for a chance to win a copy of Rage.

The contest is open to ALL and will run until Saturday April 9 at 11:59 PM (PST). Only one entry per person please! Good luck!

But that is not all!

You can also enter the Riders of the Apocalypse Giveaway, courtesy of the publishers! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster!

To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you’re under 13, submit a parent’s name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email by the publicist.

Good luck!

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  • Lobo
    April 5, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I’d be Death I guess. But the Discworld kind 🙂

  • MarieC
    April 5, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Given the choices, I think I’d choose Death.

  • Kaethe
    April 5, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I’ll go with Pestilence since I’m interested in plagues.

  • Lise
    April 5, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I think I would be Pestilence, but I prefer to be called the Conqueror, sounds more intimidating! 😈

  • SandyG265
    April 5, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Out of those choices I’d choose Death

  • Amanda Lee
    April 5, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Given those choices, and since I’m currently re-reading The Book Thief, I gotta go with Death. 8)

  • Mia
    April 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I would probably end up being war (I have a lot of pent up rage), but I think I would rather be death. The other three horsemen are causes, but death is the result. Plus, it’s the only one that may not cause the person suffering (you could die peacefully in your sleep).

  • Rebecca
    April 5, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Death…the Neil Gaiman Goth chick of course. And as Death there is a little more control. As war, famine, or pestilence you have a very specific job, but Death can take people peacefully.

  • Kaya H
    April 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I would go for Death. Ohh this series is amazing! I cannot wait for Rage.

  • Teri C
    April 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Ohh I want to be the Rider of War. Rage, I cannot wait to read. This series and the author are amazing.

  • Robin K
    April 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I suppose rage. But that may just be the PMS talking *winks*.

  • Robin K
    April 5, 2011 at 10:25 am

    OH NO, rage was not a choice! SO WAR!

  • Maya S
    April 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Well, Death has had some ridiculously cool interpretations. But I always loved the Good Omens version of War, so I think I’d like to be her.

  • jenmitch
    April 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    i’m gonna go with pestilence, because i’m a biologist, and i love me some cool germs. (i mean i always sort of envisioned myself more on the side of fighting for continued life and existence, but, what can you do….)

  • Dominique
    April 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I would totally be pestilence as I think it is the most interesting in terms of how it affects people socially.

  • Kathleen Brown
    April 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Famine, definately. Partly because I can relate to the MC in Hunger who becomes Famine and partly because food is the most powerful motivator. It gives you complete controle over people.

  • Jenni
    April 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I guess I’d have to choose Death.

  • curiousnomad
    April 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Pestilence. Yah, I think I’d settle for pestilence if didn’t have any other choice.

  • Carol Thompson
    April 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Amazing !

    I am a great fan of British author Terry Pratchett’s satirical novels and thanks to them I have a completely different view of Death than I had before.

    Even the reality of death seems to have changed for me because of Pratchetts depiction of him

    Read his The Fifth Horseman for a different take on all of them.

    Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  • jpetroroy
    April 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Pestilence, maybe?

  • Scribe Kira
    April 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    i would be death, i think.

  • notunlikely
    April 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Death because he’s my favourite of Terry Pratchett’s characters.. everything he says and does makes me giggle!

  • Laura T
    April 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I’d go for pestilence!

  • Breanne M.
    April 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I’d choose Death, I guess.

  • Amy C
    April 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Death, ftw. 🙂

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    April 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I would be death. Please enter me in contest.

  • Ava
    April 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I choose death… Why not go all the way, you know?

  • Lynossa
    April 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Definitely death, there’s something elegant and romantic about it (don’t ask why, I just feel that way).
    Thanks ~

  • Dana
    April 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I’d be Death. There’s nothing inherently bad about death. It’s nice and neutral.

  • Rhiannon Hart
    April 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of Susan in Pratchett’s Soul Music so I have to say Death as well!

  • Jen B.
    April 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Easy question!! Death! My favorite book ever is On A Pale Horse. I think it is both brillian and timeless. Not an easy task. You actually express the brilliance of the book with much better words. Now I must check out some of your books! 😀

  • Marlene Breakfield
    April 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I would pick death.

  • Carllee
    April 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Pestilence. Definitely Pestilence.

  • Elly
    April 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Death. Definitely. Because I’m not up for torturing people. Haha!

  • Lalay
    April 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I think i would be the pestilence/conqueror. Man, this is a tough choice to make.. =P

  • BrendaC
    April 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Death, I think.

  • Nikki Egerton
    April 6, 2011 at 4:10 am

    I don’t want to be any! If I had to chose I’d go with Death.

    The Riders in Charmed were pretty cheesy, but OMG I loved them in Supernatural. The scene where Death was introduced was brilliant, my sister and I fell in love with the music playing in the background 🙂

  • Robi
    April 6, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I would be Death.

  • Kate
    April 6, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Pestilence because when I was little I wanted to be an infectious disease spealist…but I guess spreading disease is close enough to curing it 😛

  • Su
    April 6, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I’d have to go with Death. Death can be gentle and a great kindness. I totally don’t have the right kind of soul to watch other people’s suffering. 😳

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • CrystalGB
    April 6, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I would say Death.

  • Pam S (pams00)
    April 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I guess I’d pick Death or War. THis sounds like a great series ty for the chance to win :)!

  • ChrisB
    April 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I would be War

  • Audra Holtwick
    April 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I would choose to be Death-I love Piers Anthony series it is awesome.

  • April
    April 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Great list of influences. I love that Famine from X-Factor was one of them.

    Given the choices, I think I’d pick Death too. And I definitely cannot wait to read Rage. 🙂

  • Rachael L
    April 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I would want to be Death. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Jasmine A S
    April 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I would be war, I just get angry way too easily. *sheepish*

  • kemendraugh
    April 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    sadly, I would be war. I sort of wish I was Death. It’s all death, really, but Death at least has a less violent way of bringing it about…

  • Adrienne
    April 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I would have to choose War…

  • Gerd D.
    April 7, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I think I’d like to be Death, I tend to imagine him being the most noble among the four riders. The one least given to needless cruelty.

  • Rin
    April 7, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I would be death.

  • brit
    April 7, 2011 at 7:49 am

    War, but I wouldn’t want to be like the last one in your series. She was a bit, um intense.

  • Mel S
    April 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I think I would be War as everything feels sharper during war – passion runs deep and you feel more alive! 🙂


  • Courtney
    April 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I think I would choose Death.

  • Jufuzle19
    April 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm


  • Alexandra
    April 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm


  • tin
    April 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I would choose Death. Thanks for having this giveaway!

  • Kirsten
    April 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    wow. my first choice would’ve been death, having read the book thief makes death look cool 😀 but after thinking about it, i guess I’d go for Pestilence. But the Conqueror sounds muuuuch more amazing.

    thanks for the giveaway!

  • Laura
    April 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I’d probably have to pick War.

  • jmspettoli
    April 9, 2011 at 1:20 am

    If I had to pick I think I would go with Death. I think he is the scariest of the Horsemen LOL.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Natalie
    April 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I would have to go with Pestilence, I am a pest already and therefore nearly there! Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  • alana
    April 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Pestilence. I don’t even know why. I just liked the little bit of him we got to see in Hunger.

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