All right, I promise that one of these days I’ll stop harping on and on about one author over and over again. But I wanted to write this up, and this seems like a good enough place. It almost takes over Thursday’s post about writing as well, but I won’t let it. But the simple version of this week’s inspiration is just this: In order to be good writers, we not only have to write a lot…but we also have to read a lot. It’s one of the most commonly repeated bits of advice I’ve heard in all my various sources and talks and classes. It’s a simple equation: if we want to write books, we have to read some to know what we’re writing. And what better way to find inspiration than in some of our favorite authors? I’ll be looking at a few authors over time, but this post is devoted to the one author I’m sure my readers are absolutely sick of hearing about: M.C.A. Hogarth. (I’M SORRY. I JUST REALLY LIKE HER.) But she’s getting this honor over the others for a very interesting reason.
You see, I was only just barely getting into the writing world online when my new friend Lyn Thorne-Alder (another author I love dearly) linked to a Kickstarter that an author I was entirely unfamiliar with was hosting. It was for a book called A Rosary of Stones and Thorns, and as far as I could tell, it was strongly about angels. Well! I was all about angels! I have a whole trilogy of books about angels! This was clearly something I wanted to support, and hey–for not a huge amount of money, I could get an e-book copy of the book! Perfect. So on April 2, 2012, I backed Rosary and received the book when the Kickstarter completed. I’m fairly certain I didn’t read it until my first residency at grad school (which would have been January of 2013), which explains the rest of the plot line fairly well.
I’m easily intimidated, and since Hogarth was an author that Lyn knew AND had several books out by then, I was massive nervous to ever approach her. I knew she had a Twitter presence, but I was content to keep quiet and not worry about anything. I’d admire from afar, and never bother the Great and Holy Author.
(I am, of course, amused by this now.)
However, when the Kickstarter for Earthrise came around in May of 2013, I jumped on it. I’d attempted to read Hogarth’s serialized version of it for some time, to no avail, but if I had another opportunity to read her stuff, I was going to be on it like tears on a speeding ticket. I backed it on May 13 of that year. (Ironically, only just over a year later, but I didn’t know that until now.) This time, I wanted to be more active. I tried interacting with Micah (as I’d started calling her, since everyone else seemed to), and once in a while I’d get a response. I was thrilled. I read Earthrise a bit sooner this time around–and was instantly hooked. I was in love with Hirianthial and everything he was, and I wanted all the Eldritch I could get. As time went on and I downloaded every book I could get my hands on, I started talking more and more to her, and expressing my desire to voice one of her books. I’d been meaning to get into audiobook narrating for a while, and had tried ACX a while back but never really got the hang of it. When Micah pointed it out again, I jumped on it.
I got my first gig with her at the beginning of October–a short story from a world I didn’t know, but was willing to learn. I’m still eager to hear more of their story some time. We were chatting now, and I voiced a few more stories for her along the way. (I’ve got another in progress as we speak. Or I type, and you read. Something.)
And then, just a few weeks ago at the beginning of the month, I got a chance to head out to Anthrocon and finally meet her–just over two years since our initial contact. It was awesome and amazing and she was everything I thought she’d be and more. I’m still convinced that I’ll get down to her and visit some day, and maybe some day she can come up north and visit Lyn and I! (Preferably in the summer. It’s colllld up here in the winter.) But for now, I’m happy to know that I have an awesome fellow author friend in Micah, and know that she and I can continually bounce off each other.
AND THIS IS THE POINT I’M MAKING, IF THAT WAS TL;DR.
It’s important to have authors that you can turn to for inspiration. I know that if I’m feeling down about my work, or need an escape into something else, I can always pick up one of Micah’s books and fall into a world I know and love–and will help me find the drive to get back to my own world. The Eldritch remind me so much of my elves, it makes me want to start throwing the serial at you all before it’s really ready (I know, I know, it’s so delayed, I’m so bad) just so that Micah can meet them. (And all of you, of course.)
So don’t let writer’s block eat you alive. Think of it as a rest stop, on the thruway that is your writing process. Take a moment, an hour, a day, as long as you need–and let yourself go somewhere else. Go to Narnia, go to Hogwarts, go to Rivendell or Gondor or Mirkwood or the Shire, go to Harat-Sharii, go to Addergoole, go anywhere but where you are. Take that trip, and let it bring you back to life.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What worlds do you like to escape to? Share in the comments below–and for an extra special prompt, write a short (<500 word) fiction piece in the comments of yourself in that world!