Books that influenced the writing of Lizard Radio
When I'm writing a book, I study books that in some way resonate with the story I'm working toward. I like to go back to see how those authors touched me with their words and how they changed my view of the world. These are the books that helped me through Lizard Radio.
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton – There is no other book that has touched me so deeply and made me feel so close to the characters as this one. I go back to it over and over to learn about character description and development, relationship, and group dynamics.
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle – Meg Murray was the first character I remember reading who is both and neither. She's not a full mystic like Charles Wallace, but she also can't quite navigate the "normal" world. I thought about her a lot as I got to know Kivali better.
The Illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury – This collection of stories stretched my mind in many different directions the first time I read it. The stories being acted out, one at at time through tattoos…the stories that most stuck with me and influenced this book are "The Highway," "The Long Rain," "The Exiles," and "Zero Hour."
My Name is Asher Lev - Chaim Potok – Asher Lev is one of the best reasons to tell a story in first person: an entirely unreliable narrator who sees the world so differently from those around him that he can barely make sense of day-to-day life. I read this book twice during the writing of Lizard Radio.
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell – This is an adult book that is startlingly beautiful and deeply disturbing. I don't recommend it for young readers because of the unexpected graphic violence in the last half. But if you can hang with that, it is a haunting story of longing for connection with other worlds.
I also have to mention Lizard Music by D. Manus Pinkwater. I discovered this book when I was working on draft 3 or 4 of Lizard Radio and I was shocked by the parallels. It made me think that Mr. Pinkwater and I must tune into the same radio sometimes.