Since we published The Duchess of the Shallows (http://peccable.com/duchess/) in March, we have been asked many times, "Who are your influences?" Although it's an often-posed question, we're delighted to answer. No one writes in a vacuum, and anyone who's ever set pen to paper (or hands to keyboard) has done so in the shadow of the authors who came before. We'd like to talk about some of the giants on whose shoulders we stood.
George R. R. Martin: Obviously, one of the great contemporary fantasy writers, and his A Song of Ice and Fire is on track to be a new classic. Martin has many virtues but we're captivated by his true gift for world-building; many fantasy settings are just medieval Europe with magic, but his Westeros feels distinct and fully realized. If the fog-bound city of Rodaas is only half as interesting, we consider our job well done.
Ira Levin: Although not a fantasy author, his storytelling style is clever and compelling. In Rosemary's Baby, Levin manages to reveal to the readers what's really going on at the Bramford while keeping the main character utterly in the dark, a more difficult trick than it seems. His prose is economical, spending ten words to convey a message that would cost another writer twenty-five. We tried to capture that economy in our telling of Duchess' exploits, and the cleverness in dropping clues for the reader that the redoubtable Duchess sometimes missed.
Stephen King: Another non-fantasy writer (well, mostly), King has a way with characters that any writer should envy. He can introduce, flesh out, and kill a character inside of fifty pages, and still fully engage the reader's interest and sympathy. Even the most heinous villains get a fair chance; in The Stand, Lloyd Henreid was a wretch, but he was a wretch you understood. We tried to give the minor characters in The Duchess of the Shallows the same regard, either by providing some history or even just a bit of interaction that made folks like Zachary, Brenn and Baron Eusbius more than mere background.
There are of course many, many more that we could list; in the end, authors are really just readers who sometimes write.
About the authors
Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto are, collectively, a computer programmer, afraid of heights, a former technical writer, a rabin Go-Go's fan, a board-game designer, a founding member of the Alan Turing Fan Club, an award-winning interactive-fiction author, a native Philadelphian, an ex-drummer, one heck of a party thrower, a pianist, from New Jersey, the holder of three degrees, an avid role-player, an improvisational actor, an uncle, a stand-up comedian, not particularly fond of flying, a video gamer, a lover of Halloween, a story-game/RPG developer, and an Ultimate Frisbee enthusiast. They are currently hard at work on the next installment of Duchess' story, The Fall of Ventaris.
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