The Spark Blogfest: Sparkfest

First things first – I know, I know. Today’s post was supposed to be about monsters. The sort of monsters that Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes would have a dialogue with under his bed. Am I breaking promises already?

Well, yes. I’m still working on this post, and I’m still excited about it, but it’s been postponed until Monday.

Why? Let’s just say that when I see the opportunity to talk more about myself and possibly win free stuff? The sort of opportunity provided by the the Spark Blogfest?

My response can only be –


Here are the Sparkfest blog challenge questions in all their sparkly glory.

  • What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?

See this book? This book was my first science fiction book ever. My mother gave it to me during a camping trip, and I devoured it.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about this book now. I remember there was a smarmy space captain and a lady with attitude and they bickered a lot and without knowing this was hot, I knew it was hot.

Then there were those aliens on the cover, and even though they were supposed to look like that, I always imagined that they looked like adorable teddy bears. The smarmy space captain and the lady with attitude and a bunch of other space travelers befriended these adorable teddy bear aliens, and the teddy bear aliens responded by being adorable for a while, and then they started *SPOILER ALERT* killing people, and so 8/9 year-old Annalise learned an important life lesson about not trusting alien teddy bears no matter how adorable they are.

I have no idea whether the book holds up or not. I mean, in terms of stories that have been really really influential on me as a writer and shiznit, I would have to go with things like His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and The Stone Boy by Gina Berriault and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

But Mote in God’s Eye was the book that started it all. I became a speculative fiction addict, and I never looked back.

Thank you so much, mother, for traumatizing me with this book.

  • What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

Um, the truth? Well, right now I have 2 major WIP, and I don’t think books and/or authors inspired either of them.

I’m particularly neurotic about my story KILL THE LAST ONE sounding like a Hunger Games knockoff, but the truth is that KILL THE LAST ONE was inspired by an anime. An anime that was more or less a knockoff of Lord of the Flies.

Infinite Ryvius is a late 90s anime about teenage space cadets who, through a series of extenuating circumstances, are forced to pilot a huge space ship all by their lonesome. They do a predictably good job at building a society, by which I mean they’re constantly on the brink of complete and utter anarchy.

I just saw this anime recently and I LOVED it. Highly recommended to anyone interested in such things. Actually, I would recommend it to anyone who needs some examples of good storytelling pacing, because the first 20 or so episodes? Gold star pacing, hooks and cliffhangers. The only downside to this anime is that parts of the dub are mind-numbingly awful.

It made me really really want to write a story about a bunch of kids and teenagers doing a predictably good job at building a society, by which I mean…

…well, I think you get the idea.

My other story, SPIDER AND BRIAR, doesn’t have any specific inspiration that I can think of. Maybe just fairy tales in general? But not any particular fairy tale.

It’s more like a weird conglomeration of every dark fantasy I’ve ever been exposed to, through various mediums. Probably owes a debt or two to Pan’s Labyrinth. 

  • Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

Yes. His Dark Materials, unquestionably.

If all books were about tomboys riding polar bears in dystopian steampunk worlds, then I think I could die happy. (Please don’t take me up on this.)

Pullman taught me that fantasy isn’t all about elves and dragons. I learned this lesson well, and then I decided to write a story about dragons. BECAUSE, OKAY.

I like dragons.

This is a dragon.