There have been many books that have influenced me over the years, each for a different reason. Some were non-fiction books on the craft of writing, business development, and managing life situations. These are, of course, designed to impact your life. One book of fiction that most directly influenced me is Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite.
I received Lost Souls in 1992 as a gift, the first of many novels given to me by someone I love. Lost Souls was published by Abyss, an imprint of Dell Publishing. Abyss published primarily horror fiction and I depended on that Abyss logo when I shopped for books. It never let me down. I was heartbroken when it disappeared.
Lost Souls did more than introduce me to my favorite publisher, it introduced me to vampires in a way they had never been presented before. There was still an element of horror in that some of them were vicious and deadly, but mostly they were beautiful, sexy creatures. Later this style of gothic horror, in my opinion, evolved into paranormal romance and to urban fantasy, where romance is typically secondary to the main story.
Zilla and Nothing (the main characters) introduced me to the possibility of new worlds with new rules. Boys loved boys, humans desired non-humans, heroes could be flawed, rape and incest questioned the norms. And of course there was music. Lots of music. My love of this book led me to another novel by Brite, Drawing Blood. Later, I was drawn to the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.Vampires and other supernatural creatures walked among us, lived and worked with us, and had lives with purpose beyond being the “boogeyman”. Between 1992 and now there have been many incarnations of the vampire story.
Experts periodically tell us that genres with supernatural elements are dead, but a stroll through a bookstore or Amazon indicates there are still plenty of people, like me, who are looking for that sexy, supernaturally dangerous hero. Which is why I write urban fantasy. My love of horror and fantasy merged perfectly.
And I can make my world whatever I want it to be.