Below is a list of some of the authors and storytellers who have published work that has inspired me, entertained me on late nights, or even made a required reading assignment interesting.
After reading Marissa Meyer’s, Lunar Chronicles series, I went through my first book hangover and I knew that I needed more fairytale retellings in my life. I actually eyed Cinder years before I read it, but it did not pique my interest at the time. However, when I passed the book on the shelves on Barnes & Noble years later, I decided to read it and it was one of the best book decisions I have ever made. (I don’t know how I could have been so blind before!) The Lunar Chronicles helped me to stay in love with fairytales and ragtag teams of heroes.
Tomi Adeyemi showed me that the African diaspora can exist in fantasy. I mean, I knew that it could, theoretically. I’m writing about an African diasporic fantasy now, but it was something that wasn’t really brought forward in English class and it’s not as frequent as reruns of Lord of the Rings, which is dope, but there’s not a black elf extra to be seen. Tomi also showed me how the real-life struggles of the diaspora can be depicted in fantasy, as well. I recommend that you read Children of Blood and Bone and the second book Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Breaking barriers and seeking diversity aside, she’s a damn good writer and immerses you into her world of Orisha.
So, my high school English class read the Handmaid’s Tale before it was cool and became a Hulu series. Truth be told, I haven’t actually seen the show and its interpretation of the book, but Atwood has an unnerving way of showing the monstrosity of mankind. If you want an author that will shake up your way of thinking about the direction of society and how that filters down to inidvidual people’s stories, I would recommend that you read The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake.
In the midst of my book hangover from Lunar Chronicles, I sought other retellings particularly of Beauty and the Beast and that’s when I came across the Disney universe retelling of Beauty and the Beast, As Old As Time by Liz Braswell. Liz speaks to all the fanfic with the plot rewrites that audiences ask for. Liz is definitely great to read if you’re looking for someone who can make you look at classic Disneyverse stories in a whole different way. I would say more, but I don’t think I can without spoiling the twists. I would recommend that you read As Old As Time and A Whole New World (Aladdin). I haven’t read her other retellings yet, but Once Upon A Dream (Sleeping Beauty) and Reflection (Mulan) are on my list. After reading Liz Braswell’s fairytale twists, all I wanted was more and boy did I get it.
Sarah J. Maas
So, I’m going to start by saying I’m ensnared by Sarah’s writing and am slave to the rhythm of her magical characters and memorable prose. When I think of how I want to sound when I write, I think of her work. In addition to her work just laying me out in general, she was a great follow up to the fairytale retellings of Liz Braswell. I actually discovered her work because I kept seeing swarms of fanart on Pinterest with the ACOTAR hashtag attached. I didn’t know what ACOTAR was, but if it was leading to all this fantastic fanart, then it had to be good and I was not disappointed. ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses) is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but with fairies and Sarah really makes the story hers. Her take on the story is fresh and packed with plot twists and action throughout the series. If you want to get swept up in a whole new world, I recommend that you read the ACOTAR series and the Throne of Glass series. I haven’t read a House of Earth and Blood yet, but it’s on my ever-growing TBR list.
I remember reading her work before as posts on Pinterest. I would collect her poetry as little treasures for one of my boards and then I decided to read her collection of poetry called Wild Embers. This collection of poetry gives you words that help you become more introspective. You come to learn that everything from your heartbreak to you victories all has meaning to help build you into someone new and Nikita encourages readers to truly embrace themselves, as well as their stories.
I know that this list could go on and on, so please add more authors in the comments!