Ursula Le Guin – ‘A Born Writer’

 

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Ursula Le Guin was born on the 21st of October 1929. She is an American author who writes in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Ursula is most famous for her ‘Tales from Earthsea’ fantasy series. There are six books in this series and they have sold millions of copies throughout America and England. These books have also been translated into sixteen different languages. Many fans of Hayao Miyazaki (maker of anime feature films) will recognise the title ‘Tales from Earthsea’ from the 2006 movie.

Ursula was interested in reading and writing at a very young age. At age 9 she had written her first fantasy story and at age 11 she had a science fiction story published in a magazine called Astounding Science Fiction. Ursula is the daughter of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. Her father’s career in anthropology influenced some of her science fiction stories, some of which included highly detailed descriptions of alien societies.

Here are some interesting facts about Ursula Le Guin:

Ursula met her husband while travelling to France, his name was Charles Le Guin. Charles was a historian.

‘Tales from Earthsea’ was written for children, but because of her attention to detail and great writing skills it appealed to a larger adult audience.

Ursula grew up with three older brothers, in an intellectually stimulating environment created by their parents. All of them were encouraged to read from a young age.

From 1951 – 1961 Ursula wrote five novels which were all rejected by publishers because they were deemed too inaccessible.

In the 1960’s Ursula’s work seemed to pick up and she was becoming more successful. It was also during this period that she experienced bouts of depression. She has described this as “dark passages that I had to work through.” In one of her novels from ‘Tales of the Earthsea’ she has used a quote from Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ – “Depression as a journey through the silent land of the dead.

One of the places that Ursula likes to go is to the high desert of eastern Oregon with her husband Charles. She enjoys the awareness that the desert gives her of distance, emptiness, and geological time.

Ursula’s major influences are – J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip K. Dick, Leo Tolstoy, The Bronte sisters and Virginia Woolf.

Ursula is known as a writer who has broken down the walls of genre and has taught many other writers to step out of their ‘genre comfort zones.’

Please have a look at some of Ursula Le Guin’s writing:

Earthsea Series:

–          A Wizard of Earthsea

–          The Tombs of Atuan

–          The Farthest Shore

–          Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

–          Tales from Earthsea

–          The Other Wind

Other Novels:

–          Lavinia

–          The Lathe of Heaven

–          The Eye of the Heron

–          Always Coming Home

–          Annals of the Western Shore

–          The Compass Rose

–          Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand

–          The Wind’s Twelve Quarters

–          The Beginning place

–          Orsinian Tales

Hainish Science Fiction (Hainish Cycle is a number of science fiction novels an alternate history/future)

–          Rocannon’s World

–          Planet of Exile

–          City of Illusions

–          The Left Hand of Darkness

–          This Dispossessed

–          The Word for World is Forest

–          Four Ways to Forgiveness

–          The Telling

 

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Virginia Andrews: Gothic Fiction Writer

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Cleo Virginia Andrews was born in Portsmouth Virginia on June 6th, 1923 and died of breast cancer December 19th, 1986. She was 63 years old. Virginia’s area of writing was mainly in Gothic romance and family sagas. The novel that she is most known for is Flowers in the Attic. Virginia was the youngest child of her family with two older brothers. Her mother Lillian Andrews was a telephone operator and her father William Andrews was a tool and die maker.

As a teenager Virginia was in an accident at her high school. She fell down some stairs and sustained severe back injuries. For the rest of her life due to arthritis and a failed spinal surgical procedure Virginia had to rely on crutches and wheel chairs. After graduation Virginia completed a four year correspondence course art course while living at home. During this time she went through several more surgical attempts to fix the damage to her back and hips.

Later on after her father died, Virginia turned to writing feeling that art wasn’t giving her the creative satisfaction that she sought. The first manuscript that she wrote was too autobiographical; she ended up destroying it to protect her privacy.

In 1978 submitted her 98 page Flowers in the Attic manuscript to literary agent Anita Diamant. This novel reached the best-seller lists in two weeks. From this point forward Virginia had great success with her writing. By the time she died in 1986, Virginia had over 24 million books in print and a film version of her first novel Flowers in the Attic.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known:

The first novel that Virginia wrote was Gods of Green Mountain. It was never published during her lifetime, but was released as an e-book in 2004.

Virginia has also gone under the pen names of V.C. Andrews and Virginia C. Andrews.

Most of Virginia’s stories are based around a particular family.

There are many biographies and articles written claiming that Flowers in the Attic was originally a story called The Obsessed and that Virginia was told by publishers that it needed to be cut down and have a bit more excitement to it. This is untrue according to an interview with her Ann Patty. The Obsessed was a different novel altogether. “The two have nothing to do with one another.”

Supposedly she had written three Gothic romances under another pen name before she submitted Flowers in the Attic.

At one point Virginia had a disappointing interview with people magazine and was from then on reluctant to partake in interviews and other such publicity.

Virginia’s family decided to have a ghost writer take on her work after she died. The identity of the ghost writer was kept secret for many years until it was revealed that it was horror novelist Andrew Neiderman.

There have been many rumours about Flowers in the Attic being based on a true story.

Here are some of Virginia Andrew’s books that you should check out:

(Please note some are completely written, or in part written by ghost writer Andrew Neiderman.)

The Dollanganger series

Flowers in the Attic             Petals on the Wind             If There Be Thorns    

Seeds of Yesterday             Garden of Shadows

The Casteel Series

Heaven              Dark Angel             Fallen Hearts             Gates of Paradise

Web of Dreams

The Cutler Series

Dawn              Secrets of the Morning               Twilight’s Child              

  Midnight Whispers                   Darkest Hour

The Landry Series

Ruby                  Pearl in the Mist              All that Glitters          Hidden Jewel

Tarnished Gold

The Logan Series

Melody                   Heart Song                 Unfinished Symphony            

Music in the Night                 Olivia         

The Orphans Series

Butterfly               Crystal                Brooke              Raven             Runaways

The Wildflowers series

Misty                   Star                Jade                  Cat                 Into the Garden

The Hudson Series

Rain                           Lightening Strikes              Eye of the Storm

The End of the Rainbow                        Gathering Clouds

The Shooting Star Series

Cinnamon                 Ice                 Rose              Honey                   Falling Stars

The DeBeers Series

Willow               Wicked Forest               Twisted Roots          Into the Woods

Hidden Leaves                 Dark Seed

The Broken Wings Series

Broken Wings                 Midnight Flight

The Gemini Series

Celeste                         Black Cat                           Child of Darkness

The Shadow Series

April Shadows                        Girl in the Shadows

The Early Spring Series

Broken Flower                   Scattered Leaves

Secrets Series

Secrets in the Attic                      Secrets in the Shadows

The Delia Series

Delia’s Crossing                           Delia’s Heart                        Delia’s Gift

The Heavenstone Series

Heavenstone Secrets                                    Secret Whispers

The Kindred Series

Daughter of Darkness                        Daughter of Light

The March Family Series

Family Storms                              Cloudburst

The Forbidden Series

The Forbidden Sister                 The Forbidden Heart                    Roxy’s Story

Stand alone novels

Gods of Green Mountain             My Sweet Audrina                     Into the Darkness

Capturing Angels               The Unwelcomed Child

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Brian Lumley – Continuing on the Legacy of H.P. Lovecraft

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Brian Lumley was born December 2nd, 1937. Brian started off in the royal military police, and later on after he retired became the author he is today. While doing long shifts he would be reading his favourite literature. These books were usually of the macabre style, some of it good and some of it bad. This is when Brian decided that maybe he could write better than some of the authors works he was reading. His biggest influence and inspiration was H.P. Lovecraft. Brian started writing short stories based ‘after’ Lovecraft. These were published with great success. He then went on to write many other novels and stories. The series of novels that he is probably most famous for is the Necroscope series.

Here are some interesting facts about Brian Lumley that you may not know:

Brian Lumley tried to write under the pseudonym of Hagna S. Grey once, but was told by his publisher no, and that there was nothing wrong with his name. So unlike many authors, he decided to keep writing under his own name.

The death of Brian’s father inspired him to write Necroscope. Brian felt that he had missed out on many conversations with his father while he was alive. …”I would have like to tell him I loved him I suppose. So I went across to his local pub and brought two pints, one for him and one for me. I helped him drink  his, too, and I imagined I was talking to him. I got to tell him some of the stuff I should have told him a long time before. That was the germ of Necroscope. And the rest of it just growed.”

More than 13 countries have now published Necroscope and other stories by Brian Lumley. In America alone Necroscope has sold more than 3 million copies.

Brian Lumley loves to travel and has been to many different countries. These countries include: America, France, Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Malta, Canada, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Plus many of the Greek Islands.

If you haven’t read anything by Brian Lumley and you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft than I strongly suggest you pick up one of his books and start reading!

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