Winding Road to Style
Posted Sun, 05/04/08
I made a long-overdue trip to the paperback exchange near my house yesterday. I keep a list of specific books I'm looking for, some of them very old and hard to find. Often I get lucky and discover what I want, but just as frequently I leave the exchange empty-handed.
Many years ago I read a collection of novels known as the Eden Series by Marilyn Harris. The books are dark, detailed and could be described as a twisted historical family saga of sorts. During my many moves across country in recent years, I lost several copies of the series. When I unpacked yet again last September I only had two titles out of the seven-part collection. Worse, I had parts three and five (The Eden Passion and Eden Rising).
Yesterday I found a gold mine, collecting four more titles in the series (#1 This Other Eden, #2 The Prince of Eden, #4 The Women of Eden and #6 American Eden). The books are original copies but in excellent condition. I paid roughly $7 for all four, including two other unrelated books. Not bad for a day of collecting.
The book covers are misleading, just as my own is for Passion Forsaken. The Eden Series is not a set of torrid romance novels but rather a dark saga that begins in 1790 and ends in the 20th century. The stories touch upon obsession, Gothicism, psychos run amok, murder, mayhem, madness, history, and yes, some romance however twisted. They are brilliantly written, detailed without being monotonous, and a standard for the genre.
As I read the first hundred pages of the first in the series, This Other Eden, many memories came rushing back to me. I last read the book some twenty years ago, but I remembered various points in the story as if I read them yesterday. Then it dawned on me what inspired me to my penchant for obsessive and twisted sagas, a style I have carried on for many years to date.
My long-driven inspiration is plain and simple: the Eden Series. I was surprised by the revelation. How could I have forgotten such a thing? I have often wondered what drives me to write the way I do, why I tend to lean toward the twisted and off-the-mark. The answer was staring me in the face yesterday as I re-read the first book in Marilyn Harris' brilliant series. I was inspired by her, along with another series of books written for the Dark Shadows television series. There is no mistaking it now, and I'm glad my fuzzy recollections have been brought home. There is nothing like receiving an answer in lightening-bolt fashion to a puzzling question that has plagued me for some time.
I don't write like Marilyn Harris per say, but her style and genre interest has definitely inspired me for more than two decades. I'm glad I understand the whys and wherefores now.
By the way, I'm still missing the final part of the Eden Series (#7 Eden & Honor), so I will continue to browse the exchange until I find it.