Michelle Picard's author influences.

First, thanks to Victoria and Blisse Blog for hosting me today on the continuation of my virtual book tour celebrating the release of Surviving Eden, book two in my Eden’s Court series. Surviving Eden continues the story of Rachel and her hero Gabriel and is a first person contemporary fantasy. Its prequel Ruling Eden was a finalist in the PRISM awards fantasy category this past summer.

The premise for the series runs like this: What if a modern woman suddenly learns she is heir to the throne of a magical realm hidden in our world and is the most powerful magical being on the planet? Below is the blurb for Surviving Eden specifically. My stories have something for everyone: witches, vampires, shapeshifters, faeries, dragons, angels, demons, a mysterious goddess, mystery, murder, magic and an angsty wry humored heroine, Rachel, who has to take it all on and save the world. You know, a typical day for any modern woman. Anyway, now to the blurb—

Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive, and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden’s Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches-the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.

Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. In her race to save the vampires, Rachel meets Lillith, goddess, creator of all Kesayim and humans, and the one with all the answers to Rachel’s problems. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?

To find out more about my Eden books you can visit my website at www.michellepicard.com or my blogsite at www.michellepicardsblog.wordpress.com. Follow the links on my website’s books page to read excerpts or purchase my books.

Many readers or aspiring writers ask how an author ended up in the place she landed? Like any writer, my own favorite authors have influenced me along the way. Have you ever read a book where each moment hit like a tidal wave, the sharp perfect words creating an emotional whammy to leave you shattered and in love with the entire story? I don’t claim to be able to recreate that feat, but when I construct a particularly emotional scene in my stories, that accomplishment is hovering in the back of my mind, and I know I’m capturing at least a small corner of it if my heart is in my throat as I write my characters sharing their dramatic moment.

So who does this to me regularly in their stories, setting the bar atmospheric? One of my favorite fantasy series is Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy. The brief interactions between her characters, the silky violence-edged sensual danger of her male characters, who nonetheless are emotionally well developed, always does it for me.

Joey Hill and her vampire queen series pulls off the most emotionally intense stories of love I can ever hope to find. The development of these complex relationships is realistic (not the paranormal parts per se) but true to the emotional psyche and how wounds are overcome in the face of love. Although I don’t try to recreate her style, I always aim for this achievement in the intensity of my characters’ relationships.

The scope of other writers’ world building has influenced me significantly. Kim Harrison comes to mind. So does Charlaine Harris. But also more traditional fantasy writers like Jacqueline Carey, whose epic stories in her Kushiel series have amazed me. I seek to recreate their thoroughness and complexity in their worlds. The first book that influenced my sense of world building, and so important to my dream of becoming a writer, was Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Auel’s alternative pre-historic society was amazing.

I’m also affected by economy of words. Writers whose minimalist dialogue conveys everything along with the kitchen sink. Charlaine Harris does this regularly. She particularly does it in her mystery series as opposed to her Sookie Stackhouse series. Tanya Huff has achieved this as well. Like these women, I aim to keep cutting my words to choose only the most impactful. It’s a long-term goal. I have miles to go.

When you read a book whose words affect your soul like magic, something inside you wants to reach out and capture that. If only, you say to yourself. If I can do it that beautifully, my writing world would be complete. You have to find your own way to the magic, but it’s wonderful to have so many talented authors to absorb along the way.

Thanks for visiting, Michelle, it’s been lovely to have you and find out about your favourite authors and their influence on you. I wonder who my readers find inspirational to read? David Gemmell and Terry Pratchett are both authors who leave me in awe of their work on a regular basis!