I have a list over there on the sidebar of authors I love.
Amazing that the top (since I have it listed alphabetically, apparently) is Ann McCaffrey. Ann passed away at the hearty age of 85 the week of Thanksgiving. Her sons, Alec and Todd, both published beautiful eulogies to a woman the world loved as the author of The Dragonriders of Pern, but they loved as simply Mom.
I honestly cannot remember when I read my first Dragonrider book, but oh my, was I hooked! Dragons have always fascinated me (much to my hubby’s chagrin, I should add). To think of the wonderful rush it would be to ride a dragon! Those great wings beating, the muscles working to rise high above the ground, swooping down to catch some prey…
Okay, I digress. Ann took my fantasies and wrote them out. Dragonriders are noble, heroic, keeping the planet safe for all to live on. They take chances, they risk their lives. They are not flawless. They are very human.
I read through most of the series quickly, thanks mainly to Paperback Swap and our library. Oh, how I bawled when Robinton died! Who am I kidding, I bawled every book, be it a rider being hurt, or a dragon going between. And Pern? I can see it, smell it and hear it. My favorites of the series (yes, more than one) are The White Dragon, The Harper Hall series (3 books) and the one about F’Lessan that I cannot recall the name of. I can’t pinpoint my favorite character…they are all wonderful. Okay, it’s Robinton. 🙂 followed closely by…hmmm.
I discovered NaNoWriMo, and the second year I participated I decided I would do a fan fiction of Pern. Now, I have to back up just a tad. I’m a huge Potter-head. And I always scoffed at the idea of “fan fic”…how stupid! There’s no way to “improve” the original! (Just ask anyone who has even TRIED to discuss the movies with me…oy vey!) So, with fear and trepidation, in 2009 I decided to write Red Rider of Volusa Weyr. It was–by far–the most FUN 50K I have ever written! I’m certainly no Ann, or even Todd, but I think I stayed true to her spirit and “story voice.” I am trying to publish it online at Volusa Weyr, but haven’t worked on it in a few months. Section One is up. I promise I’ll get to it again this year.
Ann has been a HUGE inspiration for me. Creating a planet is a little out of my scope…for now 🙂 Creating Lakeville, and keeping it all straight is daunting. Ann created Pern, Doona, Acorna, Brain and Brawn Ships, Crystal Singers, etc. She was the first woman to win a HUGO, and she was a maverick who did not disguise the fact she was a woman write in a man’s world (Science Fiction).
To learn more, and the best, about Ann, visit A Meeting Of The Minds, an Ann McCaffrey Discussion Forum. I’m not very active there (as hippiechyck), but the people who are are warm, friendly and love to talk about her books, her life and her influence.