The most influential female writer for me and my favorite author are one in the same: Laurell K. Hamilton.† This surprises no one who knows me, and who has read any of her books.† Of particular interest to me is the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, again, no surprise.† However, what may surprise some is that though I am particularly drawn to her writing style and subject matter the aspect I find most inspirational about her is her life, the part she chooses to share with her fans.
As fans go, I am not the most ardent; partly because Iím too lazy to be a real stalker and I do have a life of my own.† This means that I donít know every single detail of Ms. Hamiltonís life, nor have I read everything she has ever written.† I actually have a few books of hers that I have yet to read.† And though I do follower her on Twitter and like her on Facebook, I donít check her status updates religiously.
My introduction to her work came in the early days of my relationship with my husband.† We used to go poking around in comic book shops and hobby stores.† In the back of one nameless hole-in-the-wall I stumbled upon a few paper backs of the first four in the Anita Blake series.† Needless to say after buying and reading the first one I was hooked.
I became captivated by the character Anita Blake, and the first person perspective.† I liked how I could see some of myself in the character, allowing me to identify in a way I hadnít really ever done with a character before.† I also found reading these books cathartic, and through Ms. Hamiltonís writing style I started to really find my own voice as a writer.
I had been writing stories since I was in middle school, and many of them had an element of what I like to call darkness.† The world is a beautiful place, but I had known since the death of my own father when I was seven that it wasnít a taintless beauty.† Iím sure there is real Evil, but what we experience is a pale version of it at best.† Mostly what we face in our lives is the darkness of our own nature, and the ill begotten of human choices whether that be our own or those of others.† It was through reading the Anita Blake series that all the ideas I had always thought began to really order themselves for me, and I started digging more into human nature.
In the beginning all I knew about Ms. Hamilton herself was what I read in the book jackets, and in her dedications and acknowledgements.† It was enough to give me a little insight without ruining my perception of her being a real person versus the characters she wrote about.† Even as all writers put some of themselves into their characters, they themselves are not characters, and Ms. Hamilton is certainly a real person entitled to have a life with her own secrets and privacy.
Through the bits she chooses to share in her status updates and tweets, I find myself admiring her more.† From what I can tell, she lives a good life.† It isnít perfect, and she has her own struggles.† She is a writer, but sheís also a mother, a wife, a friend and a woman.† I like being reminded of that as I pursue my own writing.† It helps me keep things in perspective.† I am encouraged to find balance in my own life, and not to lose myself entirely in my writing.† Writing is a very important outlet for me.† It is a joy and a passion.† However, I too have a family, wonderful friends, and interests that are more about living than writing.
Thank you, Ms. Hamilton for being real, sharing that, writing some of my favorite books ever, and inspiring me to both find my own voice and live my own life.