Most of the erotica I read is free and fan-created, but most of the not-sexy-time stuff is traditionally published. Beyond that, I’m afraid this is tough to answer. My reading is all over the map–within the last year alone, I’ve read A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), A Is for Aarrgh! (a middle grade novel by William J. Brooke), Everfair (alternate history by Nisi Shawl), Basic Economics (nonfiction by Thomas Sowell), Hero (superhero YA by Perry Moore), Wandering Time (memoir by Luis Alberto Urrea), and Promethea (fantasy graphic novel series by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III), just to name a few.
I’m not conscious of which stories or creators influence my writing over others–while I may try to evoke a particular author or style within a given piece, at the end of the day, I just hope that the person I write like the most is myself.
I am an avid reader of early science fiction and horror, particularly the work of H.P. Lovecraft. He uses mystery, the unknown and unknowable, and horrors beyond the human imagination in his stories, masterfully building suspense and inspiring fascination and terror in equal measure. This story is a tribute to Lovecraft’s work, and I’m sure the influence will be easy for readers to spot. I’ve tried to imitate his prose and twist some of his favorite themes to suit my particular fancies.
My current work in progress is a book titled Mistress of the Air, which is comic Steampunk erotica, also featuring my Lady Sally character. To get into the mood I read books in the ‘Magnificent Devices’ series by Shelley Adina, which are very enjoyable. I recently discovered the femdom writing of Kivutar Amy Koski. Her work is huge fun if you enjoy rubber and flagellation! Although not featured in this story, Lady Sally does own a rubber plantation in Malaysia, which produces latex material for her outfits, so I felt an affinity for the work of this author!
One of my favourite books, and one which had some influence on this story, is Q by Luther Blisset. This novel is written by four Italian anarchists taking the pen name of a former Watford footballer who went to Italy and played for AC Milan (that alone was enough for me to fall in love with it!) This book is set in 16th century Germany during the Peasants Revolt and the social turmoil that ensued from radical social and religious ideas, so very similar to mid-17th century England. It’s a brilliant book, cleverly structured with lots of layers to it and bursting with ideas, as the main character is engaged in half a century of attempts to overturn the established order using different methods.
What do I read for fun? Ummm… books with words. I read pretty much anything I can get my hands on, but when I’m working I tend to read non-fiction only. I catch up on my fiction when I hand in the manuscript. Which means I’m way behind on my fiction!
For fun? Anne Bishop, Jacqueline Carey, Laura Antoniou, Robert Heinlein, Spider Robinson and Mercedes Lackey. Those are the ones I usually turn to when I’m too tired to start a new book. I’ve recently added Courtney Milan and Kevin Hearne to the list, too.
I tend to be a mimic, so yes, they’ve all influenced my writing. There are times when my husband will read through my work and tell me my Misty Lackey is showing, or something along those lines.
My top five steampunk influences are Neal Stephenson for worldbuilding, E.E. Nesbit for whimsy, Edith Wharton for emotional realism, Sarah Waters for rollicking lesbian romance, and H.P. Lovecraft for making squids scary.