I’ve mentioned a few times before about a small list of books that opened up my consciousness and really anchored me into understanding how I wanted to write. At least, they gave me a decent starting path that I’m working to follow.
So, what were the books and why do they still mean so much to me?
This book was my first real introduction into the sweeping epic and my inspiration for creating the Baxter Family Saga. This young woman, Emma Harte, is born into poor circumstances. She eventually falls under the spell of a young well-to-do boy and become pregnant. Of course, he can’t or won’t claim the child so Emma is forced to raise the child on her own. But she finds a way and builds an empire in the process. The other part of the story is the fact that she is so savvy in business, and so misguided in love, until she meets the one man who she would love for the rest of her life. Emma was this complete person, far beyond a character. She was flawed when it came to her children but you forgave that because of what she endured. You still respected her and championed her success because you can’t help it. I’ve read this book a few times and have always come away from it with a new perspective.
A girl named Autumn (LOVED her full name) introduced me to this book and Anne Rice while we visited Northwestern U, where we got accepted and invited to check out. She told me I had to read the book and I thought, cool. The Witching Hour is close 1,000 pages and I remembered slogging thought the first 80 pages wondering when things would get better. And boy did they ever!
It became one of the most epic and adventurous reads as it took over my emotions and make me love and hate the Mayfair Witches. I’ve read many of Anne Rice’s books since then (before she become super religious and stifled her own writing) including the Vampire Chronicles, Cry to Heaven, The Mummy and even some of her Beauty erotica. It was pure pleasure to have her commandeer my senses.
I first read this book in high school and have read it a few times since with growing appreciation. It’s the story of Janie and how fear, jealousy and hatred deform her life and legacy. Janie was forced to walk the path of being somebody’s somebody because her grandmother thought that she was fast becoming like her mother, who was both a product and victim of rape. The false idea that a black woman’s sexuality is a catalyst for all sorts of danger is as much of an issue today as when it was written. Janie’s life followed the pattern of becoming a disenfranchised possession that was only good for use and abuse by a multi-laterally depressed male population. Much like a mule was only good for carrying heavy loads. When she found true love, there were still those elements of abuse and use, that she accepted as a truth about love. This perception hangs around today and it’s been almost a century since the book was published.
Zora Neale Hurston was an anthropologist during a time when black women were barely seen as valuable by society and before anything name Civil Rights became a talking point. She had enough insight to shine a light on certain issues that were and are salient when slavery and the generational hold it had and continues to have are put into context. I wrote a story that was partially inspired by the themes brought up in the book. It’s the back story of Niveah Wallace, my female lead in Tobey Fine, and I hope to have it out by 2020, at the latest.
So, there you have it. My trio of inspiration. If you’re looking for other great books, I highly recommend:
What are some of books that leave you awestruck? Please share in the comments. My TBR List needs to get fatter
Disclosure: I’m an amazon affiliate and these book recommendations contain affiliate links. If you purchase, I may receive commission. Despite that, I still love all of these books and THEN some!