After going through a fallow period with reading matter borrowed from my local library, I recently hit pay dirt by finding some of my favourite authors’ books just sitting there on the shelf, waiting for me to come along!
Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage and the latest story in Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series The Overnight Kidnapper are like settling down to catch up with old friends. I was also fortunate to find a novelist new to me, Amanda Coplin, whose debut The Orchardist is superbly written—likely to be one of my favourite reads of 2019.
Thus furnished with good reading, I’m time travelling to an alternative Oxford, 21st-century Sicily and the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th-century. It makes me feel sorry for people who don’t read.
Laying abed last night, I wondered who’d influenced the authors I was reading and if they’d had a writing mentor. Mentorship requires a good match of personalities, some reciprocity where the guidance is given in an appropriate manner. All the same, you might learn some harsh lessons, so it would be wise to pick someone whose wisdom you trust.
For the purposes of this fantasy, I’ve chosen mentors who I esteem, but also who I think I’d get on with; there are some authors I like who I’d probably fall out with if I met them—for all sorts of reasons, including morality, drug use and politics.
Also, I’ve brought some scribes back to life!
Here are my fantasy mentors:
All of these writers have complete control of their medium and they haven’t forgotten to include enchantment in their words.
Who would you like to lend you a helping hand?