What would you say are your biggest influences?

Probably the first fantasy book I encountered was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien which was read to my class by a very astute English teacher in my first year of middle school. After that I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy which, to date, I have read at least twenty times. Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories were another big influence as were the Elric stories by Michael Moorcock.

In high school I began to branch out reading a wide variety of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I soon discovered authors like Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Poul Anderson, Stephen R. Donaldson, and countless others. After high school I added contemporary fiction and non-fiction books to my list and also started reading books on writing craft and history. It seems like every book I read leads me to a dozen more. It was a very sad day when I realized that I will likely expire long before I get to all the books I want to read.

These days I read a little bit of everything, and try to mix things up so that I don’t get bored with any one genre. I really love George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and wish he would finish the series—I’m sure I’m not alone in this. A couple other authors I recently discovered are Joe Abercrombie, who pretty much defines the Grimdark genre, and Brian Staveley, who is a really gifted writer of epic fantasy. I just finished reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and thought it was an amazing book. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I would say I’m influenced in one way or another by just about every author I read, but Tolkien, Howard, and Martin are probably make the biggest impact on my style of writing.


David E. Barber is a fantasy writer and author of A Way with Magic and The Fabled Beast of Elddon. David grew up in the Midwest, surviving childhood on a steady diet of fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, movies, and comics. Inspired by authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, and George R.R. Martin, he began writing stories of his own and is currently hard at work on an epic fantasy series. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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