How The Dark Tower by Stephen King Inspired My Writing

How The Dark Tower by Stephen King Inspired My Writing

Hello there everyone! I wanted to start writing a series of posts describing how various books, authors, films, television shows, musicians, video games and even internet stars have influenced my writing in general, as well as the way they have influenced specific storylines within my books. The best writers in the world have found inspiration from the world around them, from world events to nature and the works of other authors. Today, I want to discuss one of the biggest influences on me as an author: The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

This series spans eight novels, as well as short stories, interconnected story points in other works by Mr. King, comics, and now a motion picture with plans for a television and film franchise. This is by far the author’s most famous work, and the connectivity of his works to this series has influenced my own storytelling.

The main plot of the story revolves around Roland Deschain, the last of a long line of gunslingers, who travels his broken world in search of the man in black, a sinister wizard he holds responsible for the downfall of his people. In his search, he also searches for The Dark Tower, a vast tower that binds all worlds and realities together. The man in black works for his master, the Crimson King, to destroy the beams that hold the tower in place, in the hopes that it’s destruction will bring chaos and death to all worlds. Roland must go on a quest to stop this mad plan, gather forces of good to help him stop the Crimson King and save the tower once and for all.


It’s a story the blends several genres, from fantasy and horror to westerns and science fiction. This combination of genres is the first inspiration from this series. The way Stephen King is able to expertly craft a story that incorporates these genres without making it chaotic and unbearable to read is a true source of inspiration. It shows that there is a place for all of these genres to co-exist, and that not one genre is necessarily better than the other.


The second inspiration from this series is the way in which Stephen King connects all of his books. Whether it’s characters like Father Callaghan from Salem’s Lot showing up in book five of the series or the man of black becoming the villain of not one, but at least three different books, this series has shown me the power of connectivity, and how it can inspire larger and more powerful story telling. I’ve begun to apply this to my two main series thus far, Nightmare Wars and The Legend of Electric Fusion. I’ve introduced a character named Larry, who brings chaos with him everywhere and travels between worlds and dimensions to mess with people, and in so doing he appears in both series. My hope is to bring characters from both series together in an epic series like The Dark Tower in the future.


These are just a handful of ways this series inspired me. I’ve learned a lot about the show versus tell storytelling device that I’ve mentioned before in my reviews, and am learning to apply it to my own writing. Stephen King uses this device expertly, subtly leaving plot points within the story that readers pick up on with excitement and eagerness. I’ve learned to apply a more “real-world” dialogue to my writing, in which i don’t worry about applying a vast and expansive dialect that makes me sound like a walking thesaurus but rather i write as if i were just dictating the conversations of real people who experience extraordinary circumstances.


Overall, The Dark Tower is my biggest influence as an author. Mr. King has done a masterful job of creating a narrative that brings heart and emotion to an edge-of-your-seat adventure with scares, thrills and heartbreak. It was a fantastic series that will continue to inspire me throughout my career, and with the major motion pictures starring Idris Elba set to premiere soon, i highly recommend you guys reading this series if you need a healthy dose of writing inspiration. Thank you, Mr. King, for creating such an incredible work of art in The Dark Tower. 


What is your current inspiration, whether its for writing or some other project in your life? Are you guys going to see The Dark Tower when it comes out? Leave your answers in the comments below. 

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Interview with Allison Floyd

Interview with Allison Floyd

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to become an author?

A) I was born and raised in New England and knew from a young age i wanted to be an author. As a little girl I would write stories and staple
printer paper together to make “books” that I would illustrate myself. I initially thought I wanted to be an English teacher but then I
realized while I liked analyzing and reading literature, I didn’t think I wanted to spend the rest of my life teaching the same books year
after year. I have been writing creatively my whole life but it wasn’t until I mentioned to my friend I had an idea for a novel but that I
didn’t think there was any point in finishing it that she convinced me I should absolutely go for it. I’m very grateful to her for that.

2) What was the inspiration for A Wider Universe?

A) I was inspired to write A Wider Universe during my senior year of college at Fairfield University. I was taking two classes, a British
Literature Survey, and a class called American Lit and Religion that were both really making me think about the Big Questions. One day in
class I was listening to a discussion on Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and it just clicked with the readings by Ralph Waldo Emerson I had been
doing in my other class. I became fascinated with this idea of paradise being a place where no one was legally permitted to force their
beliefs on others and I thought a great deal about how that isn’t the reality we live in today. That’s how Gene and Patrick came to exist.

3) What message or theme do you hope readers take away from your book?

A) Ideally I hope that readers will connect with or relate to the characters and their journeys of self-discovery and realize that we are
all complex and flawed. I also hope it gets them thinking about the idea of making human connections while respecting people’s differences
but still working to find common ground.

4) If you could have a conversation with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you ask them?

A) I love this question. I think I would most want to have a conversation with Jansson. He’s had a very interesting life, and as a
psychology professor, he’s well versed in human behavior yet he still has a lot of emotions and sensibilities that he doesn’t seem to
understand himself, so I would want to ask him what he thinks about the human condition and whether he feels safer seeing it as purely
academic instead of applying it to his own life.

5) What advice would you give to any aspiring authors out there?

A) If you have an idea or a sudden inspiration strikes you, put it to paper. Whether or not you think it will lead to anything or go
anywhere it’s very important to write it down and tell your story. That way it will be there if you decide it’s a project you want to
come back to. Great ideas are few and far between so don’t let it go to waste because you’re worried it won’t amount to anything.

6) What are your future plans? Any other book’s on the horizon?

A) I have written the beginning of a second novel about a young woman who was adopted who discovers she has a biological sister across the
Atlantic. I don’t know what my plans are for it yet; whether or not I want to shelve it to work on something else or whether I want it to
be my next project. I’ll have to wait and see where my inspiration takes me.

Interview with James Gianetti

Interview with James Gianetti

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

I am a graduate of Montclair State University and have a background in education. Since I was twelve, I always had an interest in it and constantly worked on improving it throughout the years. When I was young, I’d pick up books and think about how daunting it would be to put all those thoughts, ideas, and characters into countless pages. Back then it seemed impractical and somewhat unachievable, now, it’s what gets me up in the morning. My motivation and passion stems from the notion of being able to create something from nothing or to write something that isn’t out there in the world yet.

2) What inspired you to write The Town of Jasper?

 

The inspiration to write Jasper came from breaking down and evaluating other stories. I didn’t want to necessarily follow a blueprint of other novels so I asked myself, “how can I write a story that appeals to all types of observers?” So I started studying and checking out television shows that were working well at the time like “The Leftovers” and “True Detective”. The challenge was balancing the new with the traditional, meaning, how can I tell a story that competes with a night of someone’s favorite show and pay enough tribute to the traditional reader’s market? Since I wrote it on spec, one of the benefits was not being confined to telling the story in a specific way. So I broke the story down and ensured that I was touching upon elements and themes that people flock to while also making sure I was creating something authentic and my own. 

3) What was the process like creating protagonists Jack Sutherland and Richard Morrissey?

 

When you have two dominant male figures like them in a story, you have to make sure there is a conflict or relationship of some kind between them. Initially, their arcs were completely different and the story just didn’t work the way I had it. I spent a long time deconstructing their arcs and transformations and the challenge was making it compelling enough where the reader would be hooked and actually care about their journeys. I took a step back and tried analyzing the effectiveness of the story from a difference spectrum. I wanted the foundation of the story to be driven by irony, so that is when I decided to have their arcs occur in parallel, though not necessarily in the same location. The story shifts between the two of them with the unwritten opening always being “Meanwhile, Richard is doing this or “Meanwhile, Sutherland is doing that”.

 

 

 

 
4) What theme or message do you hope readers will get from your novel?

 

There are countless themes in the book both significant and diminutive. Self worth and community are at the forefront, with elements of love, trust, truthfulness, politics, disabilities, etc. I welcome readers to scrutinize over some of the themes or nod/shake their head in recognition of some of the ones that are more implicit.

5) Which do you find more fulfilling when writing: creating plot or creating characters.

 

I think it all depends on what kind of story I want to tell. With Jasper, I had this idea of a town and a unique atrocity. It isn’t necessarily “post-apocalyptic” it’s more “present-apocalyptic” and before I wrote characters, I needed to nail down and drive home on the environment, the scenario, and the landscapes of the town. Once I had the appealing and unique setting, I began to write characters that would be suited or unsuited for such an incident.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

I knew throughout the process of writing it that I wanted the experience for the reader to be visual. Going back to my approach to writing a novel tailored to the status quo of exploring stories, I wanted readers to visualize it in addition to reading it. Instagram has been an incredible tool that has allowed me to reach a wide array of readers and people interested in following the story and characters.  I have and continue to release teaser images of events or characters within the book along with dialogue. The reception has been very positive thus far.

7) What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?

 

Do not embark on writing a novel unless you truly want to write it. Don’t write a story just for the sake of writing a story. The process can take years, so make sure you are completely certain you want to explore your story and characters.

8) What are you future plans after the release of The Town of Jasper? Any other novels or stories in the works?

 

I have written a few short stories that I will start to send out to journals. One of them is going to be showcased on “The Short Story Machine” podcast from Paul Alves. I feel like I have scratched my short story itch for now. I have been toying with some concepts and directions for another installment to Jasper, however, I am also very much open to writing an entirely new story.  

Interview with M.N. Snow

1) Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind The Helper.

     First of all, thanks for this opportunity to talk about my novel and writing in general.

      Now to your first question. I was mired in a low spot in my life. Despite my best efforts it wasn’t improving and it was stretching out for well over a year. So, of course, the idea kept coming to me that I needed help of some sort. And then I thought that wouldn’t it be nice if I could just be “made well.” And that led to the idea that wouldn’t it be cool to be someone who had the ability to “make someone well.” And that led to the idea of what it would be like to have that power and then lose it.

      And, of course, there were a million other thoughts that all float through and coalesce to make an idea. It’s like the old saw: It takes twenty years to be discovered overnight. Well, for me, it also takes a million different thoughts, over a period of who knows how long, to suddenly add up to a poof-in-one-moment, there-it-is IDEA.

2) How did you come up with the concept of “helping”?

      I, like almost all people, have had difficult periods in my life. Sometimes those periods were emotional or mental in nature, sometimes there were physical, and sometimes a combination of the two or three. And often there have been certain people who have been instrumental in helping me through those tough times. Sometimes these people were (mental) health professionals, sometimes spiritual advisers, often just a close, understanding friend, maybe even a stranger. In each case it seemed as if there was no way out of these situations, yet I came through them. And maybe there was a “coincidental” nature to some of the help I received that was hard to explain.

      So the idea of “Helping,” and “Helpers,” that I used in my novel is really just a metaphor that came out of being helped out of those situations that I mentioned above. And I’m sure there have been situations where I helped someone else out a bit too. While the “Helping” I describe in my book has a “magical realism” spin to it, it isn’t really that many degrees of separation from what we’ve all experienced in real life. Maybe NO degrees of separation. Who knows about these things?

3) Which character did you relate to or connect with the most when you were writing the book?

      Easy answer. That would be Dusty. As soon as he appeared it made some of the writing fun, which is rare for me. A smart-aleck, no filters kind of guy allows me to write in that manner and I enjoyed that. That’s not to say that Dusty is me. He isn’t, although like other characters there are parts of me in him, or vice versa.

4) What do you enjoy more when writing: developing plot or creating characters?

      Singing! Ha! Seriously…singing! Lol. What I enjoy is coming up with initial story ideas and also spending time thinking about what characters will inhabit any particular story.

      After that it’s all work, because then comes the writing, which is effort and I don’t particularly enjoy it, and I put it off as long as I possibly can. (Gripe, gripe, gripe, huh?! I’m really not complaining, I’m just explaining how it works for me.)

      I’m an ideas guys more than an actually do it kind of a guy! I’m a better starter than a finisher, but even I was able to push through and write a book. That is meant to be, and should be, hope for any potential writer who is reading this. You want to be a writer? Write. It’s as simple and/or as difficult as that. Once you’ve committed word to paper, PC, etc, you are by definition a writer.

      Now, how to be a successful writer? Well, if we could bottle that what a sweeter world this would be. That, however, and in my opinion, is lightning in a bottle. But you need to write first to even have a shot at lightning in a bottle. After that it’s just wait and see for any of us. I’ll hasten to add that I’m still here “waitin’ and seein’” along with everybody else.

5) In this digital age, what has been the most helpful social media site to connect with readers?

      Reviewers/bloggers, such as yourself are very helpful. (Thank you very much, by the way) A Facebook presence and Facebook promotion has been a good tool. And Amazon reviews are quite helpful as well.

      That’s something that I think we all need to remind readers of more often. If a reader really enjoys a book, a short review on Amazon or CreateSpace or Goodreads helps a lot, and in a variety of ways. It helps other readers connect with what could be an enjoyable read for them, and it also helps the author, especially a self-published author, spread the word about their work. Plus, it doesn’t take all that much time.

      So, after you finish reading this, I invite you to head over to Amazon and write a review about a book you’ve really enjoyed, whether it be my book or someone else’s.

6) After the release of The Helper, what are your future plans? Any other books in the works?

      I have two other novels that I’ve started and stopped. One is at a complete dead-end. I don’t have a clue where to go with that one. The other needs an outline and then I need to sit my behind down and start writing. The Helper wasn’t written with an outline but this latest novel that I’ve started is too complex for me to just write blindly to see where it goes. I’m ten-thousand words in and finally realize that I just can’t just wander with this one—I need some direction.

      I have ideas for two or three other novels that I may or may not get to. I also have five or ten short stories that I should start and/or finish. Writing can be pulling teeth for me. I’d much rather sing! But, as we used to say in the Marine Corps, “How does it feel to want?!!!” Or, “Small price to pay to be one of the world’s finest!”

      Thanks again, Anthony, for this opportunity to talk about my book and writing.

      M. N. SNow

Interview with Author Clayton Graham

Interview with Clayton Graham

1) Tell us a little bit about how you got into writing.

I have written intermittently for many years and always loved Science Fiction. As retirement approached I thought that would be a good time to get serious!

It’s our connection with the rest of the universe which fascinates me. Science Fiction has been with me since I was a teenager, escaping to new worlds in the cobbled back streets of Stockport, England, where I grew up as a child. Halcyon days, when education and school milk were free, and summers were real summers. I treasured the ‘old school’ science fiction written by authors such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham – well before many were made into films.

2) What was the inspiration behind Milijun?

I wanted Milijun to explore how humanity would react when faced with an intelligence it cannot understand? It’s a good question, for it may happen someday. We are not currently prepared, of course, we are light years away from understanding how we should behave in such a circumstance.

Milijun challenges our mindsets through the eyes of a mother and son, and as such is perhaps more powerful and meaningful than if that challenge was through the eyes of the United Nations or the President of the United States.

I trust the book is about more than an alien incursion into the Australian outback. The story challenges the reader to contemplate our place in the universe, or multiverses (as we are now led to believe may be a possibility).

3) What was it like to fuse the science fiction drama with the complex theme of spirituality?

In a word, fascinating. Humans have always searched for the meaning of life. The idea that, like humans, intelligent alien life will more than likely have a spiritual side is worthy of consideration. We have developed our spirituality through thousands of years. We are growing closer to understanding it, and where our place is in the universe. An advanced alien society will have progressed much further – for example, maybe they will have proven the existence of the afterlife, or maybe they will have entered other dimensions. Anything is possible – we should not deride anything even if it’s outside our comfort zone.

4) What is more important to you when writing: developing plot or creating characters?

Because I love Science Fiction, the plot intrigues me most. And I love plots which interlink with the paranormal or the supernatural [which can be the natural we have yet to discover]. Dialogue is driven by the characters and is probably the easiest to compile – I just let it flow as I believe it would in real life, bearing in mind the people and events involved.

Scene description I spend a lot of time on, and is probably the area which is revised the most.

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5) What social media site has been the most helpful for reaching your audience?

To be honest there is not that much out there beyond the obvious players. My primary focus has been on Facebook and I am just starting on Google Plus. Currently I do not do Twitter but I do rely on Book Bloggers and several Book ‘Clubs’. If anyone knows of any efficient media they are more than welcome to contact me at my website.

6) If you were to come face to face with one character in Milijun, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would choose Laura Sinclair – an ordinary mother, really – until she encounters mysterious events!

The novel explores the relationship between a mother and son. How far can it be stretched before the links break? How far would a mother go to save her son? Would she be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, or undertake actions she would never have deemed possible prior to the alien incursion?

Based on that, I would ask Laura two questions.  What are her true feelings towards Major General Sebastian Ord? What does she think she is escaping to?

Knowing Laura, the answers would not be simple!
7) What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?

We can start with the obvious one – read your genre. Don’t start to write before reading, that’s like running before you can walk. If you have done your reading, and you have the urge to write, just write and see what comes out. Never throw anything away – a lot easier now with the advent of computers.

Also keep a pencil and pad on your bedside table. Quite often you will wake up with an idea, a thought, maybe just a sentence or phrase, or even a piece of dialogue. Scribble it down, file it somewhere safe.

Also don’t release your book too soon. Check out marketing options and maybe get some reviews, but don’t be a slave to them.
8) What are your future plans/upcoming projects?

I am working on ‘Saving Paludis’ at the moment, which is set in the year 3898 AD, some one hundred and forty light years from Earth. This story is totally different to MILIJUN, but with the same elements of action, technology and the paranormal. It also includes some romance.

It explores the links between an alien culture and mankind, interplanetary economics, military force and power. It also asks the question: what happens when a culture concentrates on a single purpose-driven technology over a period of hundreds of years?

Web Site: http://claytongraham.com.au/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/claytongrahamauthor/

Authors Show Radio Interview: http://claytongraham.com.au/authors-show-interview/

YouTube Trailer:  https://youtu.be/d_0Na9Zu8JE

 

SALES AND REVIEW LINKS:

GOODREADS:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28525954-milijun?from_search=true

AMAZON:      viewBook.at/Milijun

APPLE:     https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/milijun/id1071758740?mt=11

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/milijun-clayton-graham/1123213251?ean=9780994495600

 

The Book Depository [Australia]:

http://www.bookdepository.com/milijun-Clayton-Graham/9780994495600

MILIJUN

Interview with Author K. Hanson

Interview with Author K. Hanson

1) Tell us about the inspiration behind The Azrael Initiative.

I’ve always enjoyed the books of Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, and other thriller writers. I love the idea of writing books that tackle modern issues, so I wanted to start a series of books that does just that. The Azrael Initiative is also about taking a normal person and turning her into someone who would willingly head into dangerous situations, such as being dropped into Syria to fight ISIS. As the series progresses, the events of this first book will prepare her for new dangers.
2) Why do you think it was important to tackle such a complex subject like terrorism and specifically the threat of ISIS?

I appreciate books that challenge me and make me want to learn more about a topic. I wanted to use The Azrael Initiative as an opportunity to challenge the reader to think about terrorism and ISIS from the perspective of someone who is on the ground and in the fight. I also wanted to highlight the fact that just as many Muslims are victims of their hateful acts as non-Muslims are. I hope that The Azrael Initiative inspires readers to pick up a nonfiction book or two on the topic of terrorism to learn more.
3) What made you want to get into the world of writing?

What got me into writing was actually me desire to make my own video games. For a long time, I’ve had story ideas for games floating around in my head. Unfortunately, to make those games the way that I want to, I would need to hire more people to help me, and that requires money. Eventually, I realized that while I couldn’t make games alone, I could write the stories myself. From the moment I made that realization, I studied some books on novel writing, outlined my first story, and got into hammering out the rough draft.
4) What social media sites have been the most helpful with developing your readership?

For me, I think Facebook has been the most helpful, though I’m still working improving my Twitter game and learning how to use Goodreads effectively.
5) What matters most to you when writing: developing plot or creating characters?

I actually give equal weight to developing an engaging plot and creating interesting characters. An exciting journey is important, but I also need someone memorable to go on that journey. There also needs to be an internal journey that matches the external events in the story. Story events should change characters and what they learn should be on display with how they act.
6) What are your future/upcoming plans? Any plans to continue with the Kayla Falk series?

Right now, I’m working on editing the first novel in a fantasy series. This book is titled Storm Raven and features a pirate captain who stumbles into magical abilities. Once I’m done editing that book and while I’m waiting for beta readers to get through Storm Raven, I plan on starting the second book in the Kayla Falk series, which will focus on the issue of human trafficking within the United States.

Website: http://khansonbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KHansonBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/khansonbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16149902.K_Hanson
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Azrael-Initiative-Kayla-Falk-Book-ebook/dp/B01NAGQQ2F

Red Death by Jeff Altabef Book Review

Fantasy and Dystopian genres blend together beautifully in author Jeff Altabef’s novel, Red Death. Exploring the impact of religion on various
groups of people and the dangers of how it dictates their lives, Red Death delves into the lives of several young people throughout this
deadly world, with various tribes and Kingdoms conflicting with one another and the mysteries of this world waiting to be unlocked by one
courageous hero. Here is the synopsis:

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient
sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must
keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to
the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.

The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last
place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval
world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the
Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are
forever cursed, savage, soulless.

Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens
to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

This was an incredibly well written novel. The dark dystopian world is so vividly described that you can visualize the characters in your
mind. The action and plot of this incredible book took this reader on a roller coaster of emotions and created a world that can easily
pass for a dystopian version of our own. The themes of this novel have never been more true than in this day and age, from the dark side of
power in religion, to the judgement we often have for anyone who isn’t a part of our own culture, to the true meaning of family and how
a person can find family in the most unlikely of places.

It was refreshing to see the gender roles reversed from the “traditional” book styles, where a man is the hardened warrior and the female
needs rescuing or needs to be taught how to fight. Aaliss is a seasoned warrior, and the male lead of this novel that fans will meet must
seek her help for a quest, and must use her skills in order to learn and survive. It shows a welcome trend of strong female characters that
may be flawed but still become the epic hero of the story and prove that they don’t need a man to save them. It helps to break down the
gender stereotypes of our world and showcases that a person’s gender doesn’t define a hero, but rather their actions.

This is a beautifully dark world that has been created by Jeff Altabef, and is a promising first novel in a brand new series. This new world
promises to bring deadly threats to Aaliss and the rest of the people she befriends in this novel, and shows that the world she knows is
going to change drastically. Filled with twists and turns, characters we love and characters we love to hate, this is a fantastic read that
every dystopian and Fantasy reader must check out, so make sure you pick up your copies of Red Death today!

10/10 Stars