Influences. The list is endless, as I’m sure it is for anyone that writes, paints, or plays music.

What I find is that almost anything can conjure ideas for stories. If I had to narrow it down, I would have to point towards music as my muse. I often write best when listening to music and have come up with some of my favourite ideas or scenes whilst wearing headphones (although I’ve had some great ideas in pubs too).

I keep track of every idea for a plot or scene, scribbling them down on whatever portable surface I have at hand. I’ve tried using a dictaphone and many apps, but none of them compares to paper. There’s something about those thin sheets of pulped wood that calls out to a writer. I don’t think that will ever change. Suppose we could open a window into the future, seven centuries from today. I’m sure we’d still see someone sat on an observation deck of some space freighter, jotting down notes on scraps of paper. It might be synthetic paper, but paper it would be.

Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time I would like to devote to my ideas. As it stands, I have a long line of stories that need to be edited or finished. I would need an eternity to complete them all.

I sometimes take photos of the things I stumble upon, often finding a story wrapped up in them that is waiting to be told. Every abandoned building, every block of clay or off-cutting of wood have stories within them. What I find interesting is that the story often changes depending upon the viewer. It falls to you to listen and tell their story.

Without the small things in life, the big things would never exist.

Below are a few authors, albums, artists, and things that have inspired me over the years. That is not to say that they inspired me to write specific stories, but rather they elicited the emotions within me that I drew upon when I wrote. The lists below are mere surface scratches but may give you a glimpse of what lies beneath.

Books & Authors

These are some of my favourite authors or books that I have read. Some of them are well known, and others perhaps not. I am very fond of some of their writing styles, particularly Sir Arthur Conan DoyleEnid BlytonEdgar Allan PoeNeil GaimanHaruki MurakamiH.P. LovecraftR.L. Stevenson, et. al.

  • Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb (Meggan Lindholm)
  • Dragonlance Chronicles & Legends – Weiss & Hickman
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
  • The Horus Heresy: Horus Rising – Dan Abnett
  • The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Suicide Club – R.L. Stevenson
  • Thrawn Janet – R.L. Stevenson
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • I Am a Cat – Soseki Natsume
  • A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  • Snow, Glass, and Apples – Neil Gaiman
  • Neverwhere -Neil Gaiman
  • The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
  • Dance, Dance, Dance – Haruki Murakami
  • Border – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice
  • Iliad – Homer
  • Aeneid – Virgil
  • Beowulf
  • Chushingura – trans. Donald Keene
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Edogawa Rampo
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Clive Barker
  • Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory
  • The Vinland Sagas: “Graenlendinga Saga” and “Eirik’s Saga” – trans. Magnus Magnusson and H. Palsson
  • The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer – trans. Jesse Byock
  • The Prose Edda: Norse Mythology – trans. Snorri Sturluson
  • The Nibelungenlied – trans. A.T. Hatto
  • Tolkien
  • Fritz Leiber
  • Shakespeare
  • Keats
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Jane Austen
  • Charles Dickens
  • James Herbert
  • Robert E. Howard
  • Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy – Tad Williams

Comics/Graphic Novels

I don’t have the money or time to read these anymore, but back when I could, these were some of the titles I enjoyed reading. A lot of them are no longer around, and some I don’t know about anymore. Of those, I think two of my favourites happen to come from the same author: Frank Miller. The two in question are probably already known to you: ‘Ronin’ and ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns’. Both are examples of pure class.

  • The Sandman
  • Death
  • Concrete
  • The Spectre
  • Spawn
  • The Books of Magic
  • Hellblazer (original version)
  • Legends of the Dark Knight
  • Batman (mostly the main title along with Detective Comics and Shadow of the Bat)
  • Darkchilde
  • Preacher
  • Swamp Thing
  • X-Men

Film & TV

This list could probably go on and on with every year that passes. I don’t think I could ever say that I have one outright favourite film since it all depends on how I feel at the time. I have gathered an extensive collection of movies and TV shows over the years. Not all of them are great, but most have something that I liked about them (even if it’s just a scene).

I have tried to list some of those that spring to mind when I think of the emotion that each conjured for me. I’ve placed a star alongside those that have a special place in my memory.

  • 300
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • An American Werewolf in London*
  • The Company of Wolves*
  • Band of Brothers (TV series)
  • Big Trouble in Little China
  • Better Call Saul (TV series)
  • Beowulf & Grendel* (Sturla Gunnarsson)
  • Black Summer (TV series)
  • Blue Velvet
  • Byzantium*
  • Children of the Stones (UK TV series)
  • Clash of the Titans* (original)
  • Creep
  • Dramarama (UKTV series)
  • Escape from New York
  • Edward Scissorhands*
  • Excalibur*
  • Fire and Ice
  • Gladiator
  • Good Will Hunting
  • House of the Long Shadows
  • Henry V*
  • Hellraiser I and II
  • Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom*
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • Immortal Beloved
  • Janghwa Hongryeon (A Tale of Two Sisters)
  • Jason and the Argonauts*
  • Legend*
  • Leon
  • Let the Right One In (and Let Me In – yes, I liked them both)
  • Mibu Gishi Den (When the Last Sword is Drawn)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Neverwhere* (UK series)
  • Near Dark*
  • Nosferatu
  • Only Lovers Left Alive*
  • Pan’s Labryinth*
  • Peter Pan
  • Psycho (original)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark*
  • Robin of Sherwood* (the original UK series shown in the 80’s)
  • Seven Samurai*
  • Sherlock Holmes* (Jeremy Brett UK series)
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow White & The Seven Dwarves
  • Shallow Grave
  • Sinbad* (original R. Harryhausen)
  • Split Second
  • Star Wars (not the last three)
  • Stranger Things (season 1)
  • Subspecies 2: Bloodstone
  • Ten Little Indians
  • The 13th Warrior*
  • The Boondock Saints
  • The Boys (TV series)
  • The Crow
  • The Dark Crystal*
  • The Deer Hunter
  • The Dragon Slayer
  • The Flight of Dragons*
  • The Life of Brian
  • The Mandalorian
  • The Name of the Rose*
  • The Plague Dogs*
  • The Prophecy
  • The Shining (orginal)
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Thing (John Carpenter)
  • The Vikings* (Richard Fleischer)
  • The Wizard of Oz (original)
  • Watership Down*
  • Wu Ji (The Promise)

Damn. I’ve missed so many out. It’s impossible to make a list like this! I know that as soon as I’ve published this page, I’ll think of another one and wonder just how I managed to forget it?

Music

Again, I could roll the list on and on or perhaps mention genres rather than actual bands/music. I even used a sort script to put them into alphabetical order to spot some that I missed (it didn’t help).

The list below is music that I enjoy listening to or which I sometimes have on when writing or thinking of ideas. I already know that I’m going to forget something before I forget it!

  • 69 Eyes
  • AC/DC
  • Arcana
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Apocalyptica
  • This Ascension
  • Autumn
  • Alanis Morrisette
  • Bush
  • Beethoven*
  • The Beatles (red album)
  • Beck
  • Blur
  • Bach
  • Bella Morte
  • Basil Poledouris
  • Bauhaus
  • Brahms
  • Bocherrini
  • Bjork
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bel Canto
  • The Benedictine Monks of Santo
  • Black Tape for a Blue Girl
  • Cranes*
  • The Cure*
  • The Cr├╝xshadows
  • The Cardigans
  • Curve
  • Cognent Woe
  • The Chameleons
  • Coil
  • Chris Issak (Wicked Game album)
  • The Cranberries*
  • Dido
  • Depeche Mode
  • Dead Can Dance
  • Deep Blue Something
  • Debussy
  • Diary of Dreams
  • Delerium
  • Danny Elfman
  • Deftones
  • Drumatic
  • Enya
  • Elastica
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Enigma
  • Elliot Goldenthal
  • Evanescence
  • Faithless (some)
  • Filter
  • Faith and the Muse
  • Garbage*
  • Gipsy Kings
  • The Go-Go’s (some early stuff)
  • Guns n’ Roses*
  • Godsmack
  • Grigori 3
  • Gilles Apap
  • Gorillaz
  • Hole
  • Hans Zimmer*
  • Helloween (old stuff)
  • Idlewild*
  • Iron Maiden*
  • The Jesus & Mary Chain
  • James Brown (early stuff)
  • Juliette & The Licks
  • Kate Bush
  • Kovenant
  • Loreena McKennitt*
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Lords of Acid
  • Los Lobos
  • Miles Davis
  • Machines of Loving Grace
  • Mahler
  • Mad at Gravity
  • Mozart*
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Ministry
  • Midnight Syndicate
  • Mad Alice Lane
  • Megadeth
  • Metallica
  • Michael Nyman
  • Morcheeba
  • Natalie Imbruglia
  • Nina Simone
  • New Order
  • NIN
  • Nirvana
  • Nightwish*
  • Oasis
  • Ocean Colour Scene
  • Orto Equitum Solis
  • The Prodigy (some)
  • Pixies (some)
  • Pulp (some)
  • Portishead
  • Puddle of Mudd
  • Paco De Lucia
  • Pseudocipher
  • R.E.M.*
  • Rammstein*
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rollercoaster
  • Rolling Stones* (earlier stuff)
  • Robert Miles (some)
  • Rage Against The Machine
  • Rob Zombie
  • Stiltskin (original band)
  • Seo Tai Ji (some)
  • Sequentia
  • Sober*
  • Sneaker Pimps (original)
  • Sleeper
  • Soul Asylum
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees*
  • Seraphim Shock
  • Sex Pistols
  • Seven Mary Three
  • Skunk Anansie
  • Staind
  • The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Stabbing Westwards
  • Splendora
  • Switchblade Symphony
  • Spanking Machine
  • SPF1000
  • Tapping the Vein*
  • Type O Negative
  • Temple of Rain
  • Tori Amos
  • Tchaikovsky
  • t.A.T.u (only the “Clowns” track)
  • Terra Naomi
  • Velvet Revolver (some)
  • The Vines
  • Verdi
  • Vast
  • Voltaire
  • Veruca Salt
  • Wagner
  • Wench

“…However unsure. However unwise. Day after day, play out our lives. However confused. Pretending to know the end. But this isn’t truth, this isn’t right. This isn’t love, this isn’t life, this isn’t real. This is a lie.”

– ‘This is a Lie’, Wild Mood Swings, The Cure (1996).