This is an ongoing series looking at books that have had an affect upon one fantasy author.
by R.A. Salvatore
Despite all the fantasy reading I did in my teens in the 1980s, or perhaps because of it, by the time the ’90s rolled around I was through with fantasy. I was somewhat burnt out on fantasy, and being young and naive, I felt I’d read everything there was worth reading in the fantasy genre.
For the next ten to 12 years, I hardly read any fantasy at all. Mostly I read horror, thrillers, biographies, history and non-fiction books. During that time I discovered a lot of good writing, so I’m glad for it.
But every once in a while there would be a little voice in the back of my mind telling me I needed to read some more fantasy. I ignored it.
Most of the time.
During this long winter of no fantasy reading, I did pick up one fantasy novel. It was Homeland: Book I of The Dark Elf Trilogy.
Why did I pick up this novel? Mainly because I recognized the author’s name, R.A. Salvatore, as one who was making the bestseller lists a lot. Though I was shunning fantasy at the time, I was still a short story writer and I wanted to keep up with major writers.
So, I picked up Homeland.
I instantly saw why this author had a readership. He wrote combat scenes quite fluidly, and his prose didn’t need much fat trimmed from it. He had storytelling down pat.
But, alas, I read no further fantasy for several more years.
Part of the reason I had turned from fantasy because I was tired of everything being a trilogy or a series. But in my 30s I finally got to the point where it no longer mattered to me anymore. If a book is part of a series and I read the book, I don’t have to read further unless I really want to.
Plus my short story writing had turned to writing of novels, and of course I was writing fantasy. It only made sense I turn back to reading fantasy.
A decade without reading fantasy. I suddenly realized I had a lot of catching up to do. There were new authors during that time, plus authors with whom I was familiar with their names but who had not been big sellers back in the 1980s.
I started to read fantasy again. And I started off with Homeland once more, and then went on to continue The Dark Elf Trilogy and to read more of Salvatore’s work.
I’m glad I did.
Up next: Education of a Wandering Man