March 29, 2011


Stephen Bly
Stephen Bly
On the trail in north-central Idaho

I’m often asked about my favorite authors. The other day, someone asked who most influenced my writing. I like that question better. Here’s my answer:

From whom did I learn character development?
John Steinbeck
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Ernest Hemingway
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy

From whom did I learn how to tie all the characters together?
James Michener

From whom did I learn to write action scenes?
C.S. Forester
Louis L’Amour
Dashiell Hammett

C. S. Lewis
From whom did I learn to write from a Christian worldview?
C. S. Lewis
Joseph Bailey

From whom did I learn to dream up fantastic stories?
Jules Verne

From whom did I learn plotting?
Sorry, but I never learned to plot. I just turn on the computer and fill up the screen. . .after I’ve played with my core idea, done research and prepared character sketches, of course.

Mad Magazine
From whom did I learn humor?
Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding (Bob & Ray, on radio)
Stan Freberg on radio and records
Ernie Kovacs on TV
W.C. Fields & Groucho Marx on old movies
And by reading Mad Magazine (from 1955 to 1961 I never missed an issue)

From whom did I learn to love the history of the Old West?
Mrs. Welch, my 4th grade teacher, who introduced me to the California missions and the California gold rush days.

William Saroyan
From whom did I learn to forget the formulas and do it my way?
William Saroyan

Janet & Stephen Bly
And from whom did I learn to write romance?
Janet Chester Bly, of course. . .met this cutie when she was thirteen. Didn't start the romancin' part until we were seniors in high school.

Throw The Devil Off The Train
Leave your name, your e-mail addy, and a comment about what fiction writer has most influenced you & your own writing or in your life...and you'll be put in a drawing to receive a copy of my May 1st release, Throw The Devil Off The Train.




Melissa K Norris said...

Melissa K. Norris

So many influencers. One is Colleen L. Reece, she's helped a lot w/ pre-writing techniques and getting to know my characters.
Brandilynn Collins for pacing, tension, and writing with a twist.

Anne Payne said...

I'm not a writer, just a reader. Karen Kingsbury would be the one who most influenced my life by her writing. She communicates such grace and poignancy, always impressing on the reader that no matter the shattering experiences in our lives, God is always there, stretching us, molding us, preparing us to be like Christ and be with Him eternally, that HE is our redeemer.

Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book.


Linda said...

Francine Rivers--her stories of redemption and reconciliation with God and family.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda L. said...

Randy Alcorn is the first one that comes to mind. Safely Home made me look at how I view my life here on earth, and also appreciate the freedom I have to worship freely without fear.

Linda L.
dlarock at wolfenet dot come

Jan Grueter said...

That is an easy question. I would have to say that the writings of Karen Kingsbury have influenced me but the life of Steve and Janet Bly have influenced me the most. They pastor the church that I attend and their lives reflect the message that I hear every Sunday. They are also my very best friends.

csthankful said...

I am partial to Janet and Steve for a gazillion reasons,...but one of the many things they have done is to open my world to the world of reading many others writings in addition to theirs. I appreciate that greatly. (I can see that Gina Holmes will be a writer to pay attention to) I love Steve's comment about learing to write romance because of Janni-Rae. They live what they share with others. I am thankful God saw fit to let me be Janet's sister. She has been a fantastic influence in my life, along with Steve.

Julie said...

Steve's fiction books have influence me the most--no question. I don't read them much anymore ... I don't need to. I just think about them frequently and recall what happened. The scenes are so detailed that I feel like I am there when I read the books. The characters are so well developed that I feel like I know them. When reading his books, I get to live in a different time and place, make new friends, and have great adventures.

Most of all though, I appreciate his themes of faith, love, virtue, and courage in all aspects of life. Each time I read or recall Steve's books, I am inspired his characters' godly attributes.

jlarsen24 at gmail dot com said...

I grew up saving my babysitting money to buy the latest Janette Oke book and have since then watched the genre of Christian fiction explode. I have to say that my all time favorite author is Stephen Bly. His books and characters draw me in like none other. I laugh, I cry and I always feel better after spending time with a Bly character. I feel like I am in the story and can't put the book down for fear I'll miss something. I even tried to name my cat Capt. Patch but got outvoted by my husband. If only I can convince him to get a dog....

Carla Gade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carla Gade said...

It was great to hear about all those who influenced your writing. You warmed my heart with your acknowledgment of your 4th grade teacher and your lovely wife!

Catherine Palmer is the first Christian fiction author I read and has greatly influenced my writing. Ruth Axtell Morren and Susan Page Davis are next.

carlagade [at] gmail [dot] com

Stephen Bly said...

Thanks so much to each of you for taking the time to stop by and for your comments about the writers who've influenced you. I put all your names in my black Resistol and pulled out. . .Linda LaRock! Send us your mailing address & we'll send you a copy of Throw The Devil Off The Train as soon as we receive our copies.

On the trail,