• Archie’s ancestors

    27 April 2020

    I've been interested to hear what comparisons come to a reader's mind when they've finished one of my Archibald Lox books. A story is always the sum of what a writer has read or heard, and it's enlightening to find out what others see in there too. Sometimes they're spot on and spy things that the writer themself has missed. Other times there's no direct link, as the writer might not even have heard of the book or movie or whatever in question.


    Three recent reviews of Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds threw up an array of comparisons which inspired me to write this post.


    First, Addicted To Media said: "I would highly recommend to fans of Harry Potter, Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series and William Nicholson's Wind on Fire series."


    The Potter books were definitely an influence, and I love Garth Nix's Abhorsen books, so I guess they were knocking around my head too, though I wasn't consciously thinking about them when I wrote these books. I haven't read any of William Nicholson's work yet, though I keep meaning to -- must make a mental note to crack on with them in the near future.


    Next, Screendom Come said: "It reminds me very strongly of Steven Universe + Artemis Fowl."


    I wasn't even aware of Steven Universe before, but I'm a big fan of the Fowl books, and I guess maybe there are some echoes of those here -- though they're nowhere near as funny or zippy as Artemis Fowl or his creator!


    Finally, Smashing Reads said: "Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere sprang to mind when I started reading this."


    That's definitely on the ball. Neverwhere isn't one of my favourite Gaiman stories, but his work has had a huge influence on me over the decades, and I think especially on Archie -- actually, when I was telling people that I was working on something new over the last few years, I'd usually say something like "It's a bit different to my other books. More of a Neil Gaiman type of vibe..."


    Other conscious influences on Archie? Well, obviously The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was a major key to unlocking the story of Lox (even though I've never been a massive fan of it), but apart from J K Rowling and Neil Gaiman, the two authors who I think most inspired the new series were Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula K Le Guin. I wasn't looking to mimic anyone's work, but I think you'll find strong currents of those four writers swirling through the waters of the Merge.


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