I'm doing a guest-stint over at the Borders Books sf blog, Babel Clash, along with my Pyr labelmate James Enge.
My first post is called Sturges + Elves, and it talks about Tolkien, and how elves can be your friends or your enemies.
Influences certainly seem a good place to start. I read all of Lord of the Rings during a long dull summer in college. (It seems like college is the time to read the thing.) I remember finding it somewhat ponderous and vaguely annoying; it was good, but I wished Tolkien would get to the damn point already. If there was one thing I felt like I had to “correct” in my own fantasy series, it was the seeming inability of high-fantasy authors to get to the damn point already. (Robert Jordan, I’m lookin’ at you, pal. I’ve really enjoyed the Wheel of Time books, but if I have to read one more description of a woman’s bodice in these last books, there will be a reckoning.)
Despite all that annoyed me about Tolkien, I was still mightily attracted to the stunningly realized world that he’d created. You just knew that any question at all you might have about Middle Earth, Tolkien would have an answer for it. Who was the Elf-King eleventy-six years ago? Not only did Tolkien know, but he probably had eighty pages of notes on the guy. Just in case.
Read the full post over that the Babel Clash blog.