I read it and realized that fantasy didn't need to be kids' stuff--that a good writer could take a seemingly bizarre concept and make it not only realistic but meaningful.
—Kelley Armstrong, author
Even though New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong writes books about demons, ghosts and werewolves, she still appreciates other forms of fantasy.
The Canadian author of the Women of the
Otherworld series, the Nadia Stafford crime series, and two bestselling
YA trilogies, Armstrong acknowledges that she was telling stories before she could write.
These days she writes full-time in the basement of her Southwestern Ontario home where she lives with her husband, children and family pets.
Cover for "Omens" by Kelley Armstrong (Random House Canada)
Armstrong is coming through Winnipeg to launch Omens
, the first in her new series set in a small town called Cainsville:Olivia Taylor Jones' seemingly perfect life is shattered by the news
that she is adopted and her real parents Todd and Pamela Larsen are
notorious serial killers, who are each serving a life sentence for their
crimes. The news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her
adopted family and fiancé, and Olivia decides the best thing she can do
for herself and for them is run away from it all.
It's always interesting to learn which books had an impact on writers like Armstrong, so SCENE
asked her to recommend a book that has stayed with her over the years:
I've read many books that had an impact, often by making me see things in a new light.
Because I've written fiction since early childhood, when I read for pleasure, I'm also assimilating writing lessons, so books can affect me on a professional level as well as a personal one, and there have been several that changed my outlook as a writer. One was Richard Adams' Watership Down
Cover for 1st edition of "Watership Down" by Richard Adams (Rex Collings)
My aunt recommended Watership Down
to me when I was about 12. When she said it was about rabbits, I thought maybe she didn't realize I was already reading adult fiction. But she'd read it herself and loved it, and she assured me it was not a children's book.
I remember being surprised by that. Surely anything told from the point of view of rabbits had to be for kids.
Then I read it and realized that fantasy didn't need to be kids' stuff--that a good writer could take a seemingly bizarre concept and make it not only realistic but meaningful.
My own forays into fantastical fiction are very different from Adams'. I don't use his deep level of allegory. But there is always an awareness of allegory there, and that influence comes from his work.
However, the most important lesson I learned from Watership Down
is that fantasy isn't just for kids.
I'd loved the genre as a child, and this book gave me permission to keep loving it as an adult. It also gave me permission to keep writing it, and without that, I wouldn't be published today.Kelley Armstrong launches her latest book Omens on Saturday September 7 at 2:30 p.m. at McNally Robinson Grant Park.