Today I'm delighted to host author M. Joseph Murphy on my blog. He's touring the internet with his latest novel, Beyond the Black Sea, and he's offering a great giveaway, so don't forget to read to the end of this post and enter for your chance to win. But first, grab a coffee and a cookie, then sit down to enjoy the author's views on how we are what we eat... or what we read...
4/6 Books That Made Me Want to Be A Writer,
by M Joseph Murphy
They say you are what you eat. Perhaps that true for the mind, especially for writers, it is more correct to say "you are what you read." I am the person I am today specifically because I developed a love for reading at a young age. Before I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. So here's a quick list of 6 books that made me want to be a writer.
1. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Like many, I'm fascinated by Arthurian legends. What is less common, especially for men, is that I proudly call myself a feminist. So back in 1983 when I first heard of an Arthurian book from the points of view of women, I was hooked. I expected drama and sorcery which are abundant. What I didn't expect is the book would completely change the way I look at religion. Like Morgaine, I was an angry youth. I raged against the injustices committed in the name of the Church. The Mists of Avalon quieted my rage and turned it into something else. By the time I closed the book, I had learned two things. Firstly, the goddess, or whatever you choose to call the feminine divine energy, can never be destroyed or eliminated. Secondly, reading the right book at the right time can completely change your life.
2. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
The story of a simple assistant pig-keeper who, though only a teenager, helps save the world inspired me to be better person. I did not grow up in abject poverty but no one really expected much from me. We lived in a not-so-good part of town. No one in my family had ever been to college or university. In fact, no one had ever really accomplished much of anything. So why should I expect to accomplish anything? Taran, the assistant pig-keeper, is at turns arrogant and foolish, brave and self-less. It is truly his courage and his willingness to do the right thing that turn him into a hero. I've lost track of how many times I've read The Black Cauldron but it truly helped shape my character. It also taught me that even in the midst of a "fluffy" story, a great writer can influence and tutor.
3. The Mutant Massacre by Chris Claremont, Walter Simonson and Louise Simonson
This is probably cheating because it's not a traditional book. Instead, The Fall of the Mutant was a crossover that ran through several Marvel comic books in late 1986. It involved a gang of people with super powers killing a group of mutants who lived underground to escape persecution. This is back before death in comics meant nothing and every character's life was on the line. It was also during a time without the internet. There was no "spoilers". The month between issues was agonizing. I would lie awake at night thinking of scenarios. Which lead to be creating fan fiction before I knew that was even a thing. It also taught me that a good story can be the most addictive substance on the planet.
4. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
This is one of the finest pieces of fantasy written in the 20th century. Again: cheating. This is a series, not a single book. However, I bought the three books as part of a boxed set so it almost counts. At the time, Kay was a relative unknown but I gave the books a chance when I learned Kay had worked closely with Christopher Tolkein on a little book called the Simillarion. It was rare back them to have a fantasy story set partially in our modern real world. It was the first book I read that could be classified as urban fantasy. Even though it quickly moved to another purely fantastical world, the characters were remained modern every-day people that were easy to relate to. When I first read the series, I was slightly young than the main characters, still in high school. Also like the characters, I was an avid player of D&D, occasionally a dungeon master. Something in me was triggered. I started wondering what it would be like finding myself, Joseph Murphy, in a fantasy world. I started rolling characters just to daydream about them, to put them through adventures outside normal game play. I loved Kay's magic system that was intricate and very different than D&D's system. So I created my own. Then I was drawing maps. And before you knew it, I had created the land of Maghe Sihre, currently the setting of my own epic fantasy series. Without realizing what I was doing, after reading this book, I became a writer. It's impossible for me to overstate how much the Fionavar tapestry affected me as a writer. The books I've written would never have popped into my head if it wasn't for Kay.
Here's the good news. The world is filled with millions of books. And here's the bad news. The world is filled with millions of books and you'll never have time to read them all. But, just like with food, it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality. We live in a fast-paced world. I often find myself rushing to get to the end of a book so I can leave a review or critique it for another author. But this is not how books are meant to be enjoyed. Savor each moment you spend reading because the book you read today could affect you for years to come.
M Joseph Murphy
April 13, 2015
Thank you Joseph. I'd have to agree about Mists of Avalon and the Black Cauldron, both favorites of mine, and both novels which made me think, I want to write like that. The Silmarillion would come high on my list too--in fact, it might be the one book that most influenced me. So maybe I should look out for the Finoavar Tapestry.
Anyway, thank you for visiting my blog, and for introducing me and my readers to your list. And now for some information about YOUR book...
Josh Wilkinson is haunted by two words written in still-warm blood: Your fault. Wisdom, an immortal raised by the djinn, has gathered a band of super-powered teenagers to stop the Council of Peacocks, a group of evil sorcerers. After the battle in Thessaloniki, the Council is on the run. Just when final victory appears imminent, Josh’s mother is murdered and the prime suspect is his father.
Once Josh was integral to the Council’s plans for world domination. Now Josh learns his cousin, Travis, is the one set to activate the Verdenstab. If he does, the Orpheans, demonic allies to the Council, will escape the Black Sea, a pocket dimension that serves as their prison.
In a last-ditch effort to prevent the invasion, Wisdom and Josh use an ancient portal hidden beneath Gobekli Tepe to enter the Black Sea. The rest of the team – a pyrokinetic, a telepath, and a mercenary – head to stop Travis from activating a device.
The end is closer than anyone suspects. The Activation is set to happen tomorrow.
Buy it on Amazon
M Joseph MurphyM Joseph Murphy was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He earned his geekdom at an early age. He read X-Men comics from the age of 8 and it only went downhill from there.
As a teenager he wrote short stories and wanted to be the next Stephen King. Instead of horror, however, he kept writing fantasy stories. After surviving high school as a goth with a purple mohawk, he studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor.
When not writing, Joseph works as Lead Accounting instructor at a local college. He lives in Windsor, ON (right across the stream from Detroit, Michigan) with his husband, two cats, and a shy-but-friendly ghost.
You can find Joseph at these links:
This Giveaway is open internationally. Must be 15+ to enter.
2 Winners - eCopy of Council of Peacocks
2 Winners - $5 Amazon Gift card
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