I decided to be completely straight-forward about what influences me when I write. It might not be what you think, or maybe you've got me all figured out. If you do, you'll be the first. (Some days that includes myself.) LOL
Despite what some might think, I haven't been inspired by anything "new" in years. It's the things from my "developmental" years that have stuck with me. Sure, I love to read Dean Koontz, but he is not the reason I wrote about Frankenstein.
It wasn't until recently that I started to watch some of my favorite childhood TV series and movies again. When I did so, I realized that there were a lot of things coming from my subconscious that I was completely unaware of.
So, here they are in no particular order.
1. Jareth, The Goblin King - For those who don't know, he is from Labyrinth. David Bowie in tight pants is enough to inspire anyone, right. LOL As I watched Labyrinth very recently (for the first time since I was 6 years old) I suddenly understood a lot about my vampires. All of my vampires get some part of their style from Jareth. I laughed as I saw the ruffled shirts he wears and the vests. Hell, even his hair has influenced me! In particular, Alucard from Diary of an Incubus really embodies the style of The Goblin King. He even has the hair, but he doesn't stand it straight up. Ha. Ha.
The tight pants, the melodrama, the knee-high boots, even the eyeliner, and of course, the tight pants, were all deep within my mind.
If you ever wondered why my vampires have this certain look, now you know, because now I know.
2. Beauty and The Beast - Though I was too young to understand a lot of the content of the show, I watched the TV series of Beauty and The Beast when I was little. Consequently, I am still in love with Ron Perlman's voice.
When I began to rewatch this series about a year ago I suddenly understood why I described so many heroes with a sexy, deep, smooth voice.
Vincent (the Beast) is a man who happens to look like a monster. He shows on the outside what most of us conceal within. It was from him that I first learned that the way a person looks does not make them a monster; it is their actions that matter most.
He is remarkably kind, accepting, and another snazzy dresser. Vincent is a fan of long, flowing capes, knee-high boots, and living underground. If you've read my books, it isn't difficult to see his influence.
3. Scars - This isn't from a TV show or a movie, but my own personal experience. Someone commented recently on the fact that more than one of my characters deals with being ashamed of their scars. That is because it is something I've dealt with personally and I believe it is something everyone can relate to. No one is perfect. Anyone who carries scars, whether they are emotional or physical, wonders if that makes them damaged goods. To find someone who will accept you the way that you are is a dream that every imperfect person shares on some level. If you cannot relate to that, congratulations on being perfect.
4. Dracula - This one should come as no surprise. I first read Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was 12 and I've been in love with him ever since. He was tall, dark, and mysterious. Once again we have a character wrapped in melodrama. He walks a fine line between sexy and deadly. And once again, he is one hell of a dresser if you go with Bella Lugosi's impression.
5. The Phantom of the Opera - I first read The Phantom of the Opera shortly after reading Dracula and the two blended together in my mind. I've always been a fan of drama and theatre. I love everything about it. The passion, the costumes, and the hot actors. I have been in love with the Phantom for a very long time and he too comes out in my work.
He is also tall, dark, dangerous, and mysterious. He hides himself for fear of rejection, yet he has so much to offer that he does not see his true beauty.
So, there you have it, the things/characters that have influenced me most heavily in my writing. When I see stories like Frankenstein and The Wolfman, I do not see monsters; I see men who happen to look like monsters. I see another Beauty and The Beast.
Since many of my stories share these themes, does that mean they are unoriginal? Not at all. It means that they were all written by the same woman who has the same feelings, fears, and dreams. They were all crafted by the same hand and I believe there is nothing wrong with that being obvious, so long as the characters themselves have their own personality.
My vampires will likely always wear tight pants and the occasional ruffled shirt. Likewise, my werewolves will always have sexy voices and hairy chests. My love for The Phantom and theatre has played a big role in the way I wrote A Dream Forbidden (coming next month).
I suppose my point is, if someone cannot relate to my themes, or if you don't like the way my vampires dress, maybe my books are not for you.
For everyone else who doesn't mind a hairy chest, ruffled shirt, or a sexy voice, please, stick around.