Question #9, 7/03/18
(This one was a bit of a challenge to illustrate. Once you read the answer, you’ll see what I mean. – Ry)
Tammy Jaye Pope:
“When were you first bitten by the writing bug, and what books or authors were most inspiring and influential to your writing style?”
Well, the writing bug bit early but the infection didn’t take for a while. I come from a family of story-tellers but it took me some time to find the venue that would occupy my life. There are so many that I could go on for days about the authors and their works who’ve influenced me, so I thought I better limit my response to the ones that had an impact when I was a kid. The authors who had the greatest effect on me from my earliest remembrances were the usual boy’s fare, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alexandre Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Louis L’Amour, Jack London and Rudyard Kipling… You know, the stuff that make you want to run off and be raised by wolves.
I like to think that my tastes in literature evolved and got a bit more sophisticated, but I think what I gleaned from these marvelous writers was a sense of scope—that you shouldn’t be afraid of telling a story, a big story with big characters and dramatic situations in an epic landscape to which they have to measure up.
A nonliterary influence was NC Wyeth, the artist from Brandywine, Pennsylvania, who illustrated a lot of classic children’s books. I just thought that his illustrations made people look like they could do the things they were supposed to be doing.
And then there was my father, who was a voracious reader and wasn’t afraid of anything. I remember going out to the garage as a kid and finding him sitting on the floor with the automatic transmission spread out on the concrete. I thought he’d killed our car. He looked up from the thousands of pieces and smiled. “Never forget, nothing is as complicated as it first looks.”
— Craig Johnson.