I am proud to be taking part in the blog tour for Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe by David Niall Wilson, hosted by Buy the Book Tours. David has written a post to share with my lovely followers, all about the influences on his work.
The Subtle Ties That Bind – Influence On My Work
by David Niall Wilson
Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are very simple answers to the most common questions asked of writers. One is, of course, where do you get your ideas. The simple answer for that is from your influences, and from your mind. It’s collaboration between your creativity and the world that makes stories possible and the stronger the connection – the more it means to you – the more powerful those stories will be. Everything influences your work. Everything.
My serious writing career started during my time serving in the US Navy. I learned to write through serious distractions, friends, music, television, constant interruptions. In those early days, music was as much a part of my life as breathing. It still is, but like everything in life, it’s aged, shifted, and changed. I wrote very literally a half a million words on one cruise. I worked from around 4:00 in the afternoon until midnight every night. I had a transmitter room where I maintained UHF radio systems, and I moved my old 386 computer in there along with my Deskjet 500 printer and a case of paper.
Behind me, I had a portable stereo system with big speakers and a CD paper, and tucked away in the angle irons of the walls I had the nylon, zippered cases that held my music. On that cruise, the soundtrack was more limited than at most other times in my life. I had at that time (and still do) every CD that Johnette Napolitano and Concrete Blonde produced. I had a mountain of music by Depeche Mode, a two CD compilation of the history of Bauhaus, and a single copy of what has proven over time to be a CD I can’t forget – “Pretty Vultures” by a group called Ten Inch Men. The lead singer of that group, Dave Couts, went on to sing for Talk Show – which was comprised of members of The Stone Temple Pilots. I posted a review once about how that CD had affected me, and ended up meeting and getting to know all the band members.
In another show of synchronicity, I am currently transcribing Johnette Napolitano’s book Rough Mix which my company, Crossroad Press, is going to publish in eBook formats. It’s been a humbling and amazing thing to work with someone whose voice and music drove so much of my own work.
There are, of course, authors who have influenced, and continue to influence me. I don’t see it the way some do – a particular author as a general influence – I am influenced by stories. One thing few know about me is that I can actually get very emotional when something reaches me, be it a story – music – a piece of art. I love the way Steinbeck portrayed life. I love the way Stephen King’s characters seem to step right out of the pages and walk at your side. I love the way Neil Gaiman’s words can evoke the sense of wonder too many leave behind with their childhoods. I love the power and pain of authors like Caitlin Kiernan, Kathe Koja and Poppy Z. Brite.
Everything I see, read, hear or taste influences my work, but at the same time, I don’t think most of them are as direct as the word influence makes it seem. I wrote a story once, and erotic horror story, titled The Subtle Ties That Bind. I even have a sort of failed effort limited CD collection of stories for which the story is the title piece. It was written for Poppy Z. Brite’s Love in Vein anthology. It got bumped because of space, and when she did Love in Vein II she took it. I don’t want to spoil the story, but it involves intense sensation that is achieved by removing the distraction of other sensations. Each of those sensations binds you to your world – subtle threads that connect you to the things that matter.
That story is not safe for work, but the message is solid. Everything is bound together, and it’s how you read the connections that plots your course in life – what you do, what you create, who you reach and who you just piss off. I wrote another story – the title story of my Bram Stoker Award nominated collection Defining Moments. In that story I explore the idea that most of life is white noise. Along the way, there are white-hot points of light. Writing is like that for me. When a story clicks, when the words I’m writing carry me along without feeling forced, and something new is born of that connection, it’s a defining moment – an important milestone. I’ve written a lot of stories, and a lot of books. Some I like, others I love, and a very few feel like I’m close to something magical.
I believe that my novel Nevermore – a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe is one of the latter. It was an accidental creation – a book I never meant to happen. For this blog tour I’ve written more than 20,000 words of guest posts, interviews, and character interviews, and a great deal of those posts cover the connections – the subtle ties that bind me to the story. In that book I collaborate with a true idol, Edgar Poe. I provide a possible answer to who the woman in his poem The Raven might have been, and why Edgar, and Lenore, came to a wild road along the Intercoastal Waterway, and the Lake Drummond Hotel.
That hotel existed. Every time we take Highway 17 to Virginia, I feel a shiver as we drive over the spot where it must have stood. We signed the contracts for our house at the rest stop a short way from that site, a place where boats still stop. That waterway stretches from Florida all the way to Virginia, and it’s lined with ghosts, graves, and memories. When I pass that way, I feel the ties binding me to the story I wrote, and to the past. I look for crows, and ravens in the trees. I wonder if there’s really a swamp witch out there, watching from the shadows and waiting for the Harvest Festival.
Have I said that I love this book? I hope that you will too. If you do, I hope you’ll connect, and review it, talk about it and ask questions. If the connections are strong, maybe one day some of you will be influences on another book, or I’ll be one for you. That’s the way the world works.
Thanks for reading.