Muses. They come in all forms, huh? Anything from that first warm day after a long winter to the hunky guy in plastic glasses reading across from you on the subway. We’ve all got them. And we all crave more. For myself, and probably a lot of authors out there, a huge source of inspiration is other authors and novels. After all, Stephen King said it best in On Writing: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
So, on the eve of completing my first ever trilogy, I wanted to offer a nod to the top five paranormal authors and/or books that inspired me as a writer.
Laurell K. Hamilton and the Anita Blake series. There’s just something oh, so delicious about a dark heroine who can kick ass and take readers into the dark underbelly of the vampire, shifter, and animator world. I feel like I’ve learned so much (and still continue to learn) about writing suspense, mystery and pacing from Hamilton. She’s mastered these things and sometimes I’ll pick up one of her books just for a refresher on how it’s done. And dang do I love the ultimate anti-hero, Jean-Claude—a little bit evil and a whole lotta sexy, that vampire!
Mary Janice Davidson and the Queen Betsy/Undead series. Okay…talk about a 180. The tone of these books could not be more different than Hamilton’s. But, I really love my anti-heroes and anti-heroines. Queen Betsy is shallow, ridiculous and just downright lucky sometimes. But she’s also hilarious, charming and that girl can kick some ass then turn around and walk a runway right after. I love her. And it’s such a great, light read, I can finish one of these books in a day.
Shelly Laurenston, the Pride series. Laurenston has mastered the art of a series. She finds ways to include characters from past books and weave them into the current storyline. Her characters are usually relatable and she has me laughing out loud while also balancing super sexy scenes and story lines.
Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series. Who here hasn’t read the Stephanie Plum series? Because if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a look. They are always quick, fun reads that leave me chuckling. And while not exactly paranormal…we do have the elusive Diesel who toys with some sort of witchcraft or sorcery it seems (I think he even has his own paranormal series now!). I find Evanovich’s style and pacing an inspiration. And sometimes when I feel myself getting cynical or stale with my own writing, I’ll pick up any of her books for a quick break. After reading a few chapters, I find myself refreshed and wanting to jump back in front of my WIP.
Love Walked In, Marisa de los Santos. Well, this one’s definitely not paranormal, but I had to include it. Marisa de los Santos is an award winning poet and this is her debut novel. It features the sort of beautiful writing you would expect from a poet and the story is both uplifting and insightful. It’s the sort of book that I reread every couple of years when I need to be reminded of how to find the extraordinary within the ordinary.
So, if you haven’t read some or any or all of these, I recommend going RIGHT now to your book store (virtual or otherwise) and grabbing at least one to check out. And of course, while you’re at it, you might want to pick up Soul Surrender as well.
About the author
Katana Collins splits her time evenly between photographing boudoir portraits and writing steam-your-glasses romances. Between navigating life as a small business owner, a first-time homeowner, and a newlywed, Kat is in a constant state of “OHMYGODINEEDCOFFEENOW.”
She is the author of the Soul Stripper trilogy and the yet to debut Wicked Exposure (erotic suspense) series. Her first graphic novel, Cafe Racer, (co-written with Sean Murphy) will be coming out in early summer, 2014.
She lives in Brooklyn with her comic book artist husband and ever-growing family of rescue animals. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop, in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.
SOUL SURRENDER (Soul Stripper #3) by Katana Collins/April 29/Kensington