Following on from our first feature in the Bad Monsters blog tour on Tuesday, author Clinton Harding is back with us today talking inspiration and Japanese anime.
Inspiration – Japanese Anime
In Clinton D. Harding’s debut novel “Our Monsters”, Jon Graves and his friends escaped their parents and the military, leaving behind the only home they’d ever known, the small town of Carpenter. But their freedom is short lived as they find themselves in more danger than before they left Carpenter.
“Bad Monsters”—the second book The Our Monsters Chronicles, released March 2014—picked up where its prequel ended.
Jon and his friends are on the run and hunted and by General Mauser and his military dogs. Jon can practically feel them breathing down his neck, as the jaws of the military dogs snapping at his heels.
Blood is spilled, friendly and not, and now Jon must answer his friends’ questions sooner than later, or risk one of those friends dying. He’s just not sure he’s the person to be deciding their fates or if he, Alice, and George are fully prepared to walk away from their normal lives.
A farm in northern California may serve as salvation to this scared, but brave, group of teenagers. However, can they trust the inhabitants they find there, who themselves have a history with Carpenter? If Jon can talk his way past the shotgun in his face, he might just discover what he and his friends need; answers about the history of Carpenter, the hybrids, the powers the teens borrow from their hybrids and who are the true monsters. In all this confusion and danger, Jon may also find a young woman who can help heal the wounds left by Mikaila when she left him and the group.
Pick up “Bad Monsters”, the second installment in The Our Monsters Chronicles, is now available and can be found in e-book and paperback form at major online retailers: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords.
Sometimes writers know what story they want to write. I’ve read that Brandon Sanderson knew he wanted to write a high fantasy heist story where each member of the crew had a particular magical skill. He specifically references “Ocean’s Eleven” as a catalyst. So was born the Mistborn series.
Other times an idea arrives in a writer’s head and the origin is unknown. A dream we neither foresee nor control. Or better yet, these phantom inspirations are like the acquaintance we glimpse for a second on a crowded street. We think we saw a familiar face but… nah, just one of those faces.
The Our Monster Chronicles birthed from that familiar face in the crowd, though I had no clue at the time I saw the face.
A friend of mine said to me after reading the first Monsters book, “You know what this reminds me of…?”
I said in return, “No. What?”
Ding. That friend had yanked on the string and clicked on the reliable but sometimes elusive when you’re in a dark room light bulb.
My response was, “Yeah? You think so? I guess the story does!”
As all children do, I tended to watch a lot of television. Probably more than most actually. The little me watched a lot of cartoons. Some of those shows were horribly dubbed—I prefer subtitles these days—anime from Japan like “Speed Racer” and “Voltron”. When I got older—about middle school age—I discovered Toonami, a programming block on a cable network that played some of the best, character-driven, rich storytelling on television. These were shows like “Cowboy Bebob”, Gundam, “Rurouni Kenshin”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, and much more.
The Our Monster Chronicles is inspired by those imports. The shows starred plucky teenagers and children moving from adolescence to maturity, wielding great skills and powers, who were pure of heart and willing to fight to the end. Adulthood had not corrupted them. Instead of following their corrupted elders, the young heroes forged their own path and by doing so changed the world. Through imagination and using heart, they tore down establishments that suffocate the future, destroyed past societies, and sometimes killed the very earth the people called home. The movies of Hayao Miyazaki in particular embody these ideas.
Since I grew up with a love for anime, I guess these series and films inspired me, at back in my sometimes dark, always twisted subconscious.
One anime in particular inspired my Monsters series. There was a show, Digimon, that my books tread close to. I only vaguely remember watching the show but I must have been touched by its ideas. The children of the series befriended monsters from another world, bonded with those monsters, shared a connection, and fought together against epic evil, darkness and corruption.
I never really thought about Digimon when I was taking notes on what would become the Monsters series. However, my tastes in fiction, what I look for in some of the stories I seek out, were impressed upon me at an early age. Those tastes will always show through in my writing.
Now, anime is not my writing’s only inspiration. I wonder what my next work(s) will be birthed from? I look forward to writing that story, whatever form it takes.
When Clinton D. Harding is not busy wrestling and taming wild Scottish Terriers in wilderness of Oxnard California, he’s using a magic pen he pulled from a stone to craft new worlds filled with fantastic beasts and evils that need fighting. He is also the author-publisher of The Our Monsters Chronicles, a YA series of novels that combines fantasy/sci-fi elements with horror chills. For more information about Harding and his creations visit his website, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or become a fan at Goodreads.