Guest Author Beth Cato: Five Influences
Hello! I’m Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger duology and the in-progress Blood of Earth Trilogy from Harper Voyager. The first book in that series, Breath of Earth, came out last year, and Call of Fire is out on August 15th. Both of my series are classified as steampunk, which means they take basic Victorian and Edwardian historical elements and add some retro-futuristic twists, like airships and other fantastical elements. My books always mix in magic, too.
I’m known for mashing together genres in both my novels and short stories. I draw inspiration from all sorts of things, but there are five major sources that have had an undeniable influence on my work.
– Star Wars
I was born in 1980, and into a household that my older brother already had lined with stormtroopers. The Star Wars soundtrack record album was on constant play. There was never a time I did not know Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. In my writing, I love to cheer for the underdog. I love to see my bad guys have a shot at redemption. And yes, I enjoy a chance to play with the magic/the Force.
I was horse-obsessed as a kid. I read every horse book in the library, and bought new and used books galore. I’d pick up anything with a horse on the cover. This helped me to read widely, from historical fiction to Serendipity fantasy books to the Black Stallion books. I took riding lessons for a few years but never had the chance to own a horse of my own. Even so, the love has never gone away. I often draw on my knowledge of horses in my current writing.
– Final Fantasy games
Role-playing games for the Nintendo and Super Nintendo were my gateway to fantasy literature in my teens. Games were like living books for me, and none snared me like Final Fantasy IV did (known as 2 in its original American release). I was 11 when it came out. That game was my world. I did artwork, fan fiction, everything. Within months, I had started writing a fantasy novel of my own.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder
I first picked up Wilder’s books because of a horse on the cover. I soon found myself enthralled by Pa’s fiddle and locust invasions and dire blizzards. Those books started a full-on historical fiction and nonfiction obsession that continues today. Steampunk involves a major historical element, and that’s especially true with my current series set in an alternate 1906.
Baking? Yes, really! Food is a huge part of world-building in my books. It’s an important part of life, period. I maintain a food blog at BethCato.com and post a new recipe each Wednesday. I’m known for my decadent cookies and other baked goods. Such goodies are of vital importance in my new release, Call of Fire. How they are important? You’ll need to read the book to find out… and if you want to nibble on some cookies as you read, drop by my site for some recipes!