“I just love writing. It's magical, it's somewhere else to go, it's somewhere much more dreadful, somewhere much more exciting. Somewhere I feel I belong, possibly more than in the so-called real world.” – Tanith Lee
Lee, born on this date in 1947 (she died in 2015), authored nearly 100 novels, 300 short stories, one children's picture book (Animal Castle), and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7 and was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel for her book Death's Master – the second novel in her “Flat Earth” series.
Lee's descriptive style first captured my attention when I picked up one of her books on a trip to England. Vibrant and exotic are often words used by critics when writing about her works, and I would definitely concur. But perhaps the best thing that might be said about her style is that it can’t be categorized, something that definitely helped broaden her readership base.
Once, when asked, she said she was greatly influenced by the historical novelist Mary Renault, (who wrote some terrific works on Ancient Greece), but then she quickly added “Oh, and C.S. Lewis. Actually,” she said, “I love writers all across the board, so I’ve been influenced by many.” She said her own vivid imagination also shaped her writing career.
“At an early school, when I was about 5, they asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Everyone said silly things, and I said I wanted to be an actress. So that was what I wanted to be. But what I was, of course, was a writer.”
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