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Author Exposure: Author Robin Black cites Jane Gardam as influence

Date: Jul 15 2014

Your short fiction has been compared to Alice Munro, Amy Bloom, and Lorrie Moore. How does it feel to be compared to such talented writers? Who are the authors that inspire you?

Honestly? It feels kind of dreamlike. I mean, you start writing, you do your best and it’s just a mind-altering crazy experience to be compared to writers you read while writing, writers you admired, and studied. I will say – in no way to diminish that – I am always amazed that 99% of the time, I am only compared to other female writers. That seems strange to me, and I wonder if it will change with the novel. Or if it won’t. And why that is.

As for who inspires me. It’s an ever-changing list which is part of the joy of being a reader who writes. I just read the OLD FILTH Trilogy by Jane Gardam and was absolutely knocked over by it. So she is my influence right now. But maybe rather than say who influences me, I’ll say what I think influence is. I think it’s permission. I think that it’s someone coming along and showing you that something you might aspire to do is possible. Or coming along and showing you something it had never occurred to you to do, but that intrigues or challenges you.

My next novel is going to have a somewhat larger scope and scale both geographically and in terms of time span – so I read Gardam at exactly the right time to get some help from her work with that. I love that there are so many books out there, all so different and each with different lessons – lessons which in turn will come through very differently for different writers. If you pay attention, you really do see that influence isn't about a particular style, not throughout a career, it’s about unlimited possibility.

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