The Influence of Other Stories on The Kraesinia Trilogy

I grew up on stories.

I could name them all for you, all the stories I imbibed and adored and obsessed over in my childhood and later in my teens, all the fandoms my siblings and I lived in.  (There are far more than represented in this list!)

Without a doubt, they influenced my storytelling, the themes I choose, and the kinds of worlds I create.  Even if not consciously, I’m sure I’ve always been trying to recreate more of what I loved!

One clear example is my main WIP, The Kraesinia Trilogy.  It’s a blend between portal fantasy and space opera…and two of my favorite stories growing up were the Chronicles of Narnia (usually people’s first example for the genre of portal fantasy) and Star Wars (one of the most classic space operas there is)!

I thought it would be fun to take a look at all the stories I lived in as a child and young teen, and what elements I might have gleaned from them and inserted into this book in particular. 🙂

My family watched lots of movies.  We read a lot of books.  But these are the ones my siblings and I were invested most deeply in, between young childhood and when I was first drafting TKT at about 14-16 years old.

Disney’s Robin Hood – Heroes with confidence.  Triumph and determination.  Friendship.  Rescues and daring acts.

I don’t think I draw a lot from this for TKT, but it was my first fandom and thus worth mentioning. 😀  Some of my earliest works of fiction were Robin Hood fanfiction stories I told my sister at night and then wrote down later with illustrations.  So it’s a significant early fandom for me. 🙂

The Chronicles of Narnia – Young people discovering other worlds.  Accepting the call to war and authority.  Sibling camaraderie.  Knowing God better through stories.  A sense of awe and wonder and joyful exploration of a new world.  Sumptuous and beautiful royal lifestyles.  Powerful female villains.  Learning to trust Aslan (God…) and follow Him even when it’s hard or confusing.  Facing death with courage.

I grew up on the books and the old BBC movies, really, but there were no GIFs from the BBC versions. *pout* 😀 So the newer movie will have to do!

The Prydain Chronicles (no GIF for this one, sadly!) – Teen protagonists coming into their own and becoming leaders and warriors.  Courage.  War.  Doing hard and sacrificial things for the good of all.  Hilarious character banter.

My mom read this entire series aloud to us for bedtime stories and we loved them.  I don’t know that we ever played at being the characters, the way we did with these other fandoms, probably because there was no movie (not counting The Black Cauldron, which we never saw), but they certainly had an impact on me from an authorial point of view.

Star Wars – Shiny technology.  Cool sci-fi weapons.  Bionic limbs.  Orphan main characters cared for by relatives.  Dangerous creatures.  Snarky banter.  Small metal prison cells.  Strong NTJ female character.  Daring rescue missions.  Variety of exotic settings.  Beautiful cities.  Alien enemies.

Star Wars was THE BIG FANDOM of my childhood from the ages of roughly 6 to 12, after which I begrudgingly accepted the reality that my loyalties had shifted over to…….

The Lord of the Rings – THE WORLDBUILDING.  Fictional languages.  Maps.  Vast worlds.  Histories.  Deep and loyal friendships.  Sacrifice.  Warfare.  Epic length.  Tenacity and determination.  Beautiful settings.

Tolkien amazed and inspired me to go deep with my worldbuilding.  Because of him, Kraesinish has a dictionary with hundreds of words (even if it doesn’t really show up in the book much), I have maps, I know early history of Kraesinia…so many good things.  I don’t know where my books would be without Tolkien’s influence!

Pirates of the Caribbean – Actually I’m not sure I drew anything from this for TKT. Hahaha.  Far too different.  But this is one of the stories my friends and I were really into for several years. 😛

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Male friendships.  Military authority and officers.  Medical grossness and characters missing limbs. 😉  Desperation.  The horrible cost of war.

Odd one out, right??  Unlike the others thus far, there’s nothing speculative about this one.  Just straight historical naval drama.  We have a friend who was an extra in the film, and we watched it a lot and used to play at being the characters.

Horatio Hornblower – Young but heroic protagonist taking on authority for the first time.  Male friendships and camaraderie.  Prisoners of war.  Military activity.  Battles and strategy.  Dignity.  Duty.  Honor.

I think the common thread between this series and Master and Commander is that I really love to see what happens when a heroic leader and loyal followers join – how if men trust their commander they will go with him into the jaws of death because he inspires and motivates them to give their all.  In a small way it’s a picture of how we follow Jesus Christ. 🙂


From Narnia I drew wonder and joy, trust and nobility, and the love for secret worlds.  From Star Wars I drew great influence of settings, technology, atmosphere, and witty dialogue.  From Tolkien I drew worldbuilding depth and beauty, and painful, tenacious, heroic self-sacrifice.  And from British naval dramas I drew military brotherhood and the honor of an inspiring leader and the loyal soldiers in his service.

All of these stories, the others listed, and still more have crept into TKT in one way or another, and made it into the story it is.  It’s special to see the stories I love so dearly, and their influence on my own book.  I love TKT more dearly than all of these stories combined, because the things I love and admire about these old favorites have wormed their way into the pages I write. 🙂

What were your fandoms and favorite stories growing up?  If you’re a writer, how have they influenced your stories?

Leave a comment


  1. That’s interesting that you mention male friendships, loyalties, and the coolness of reading/watching about loyal followers banding around their leader.

    I grew up on a lot of old westerns. The Lone Ranger always has Tonto. Matt Dillon has Chester and Festus. I’ve noticed that, when I write, my male protagonists usually always get close friends to watch their back. I sometimes neglect to give my poor girl characters friends, but the guys always have a posse.

    Right now, I’m listening to The Scarlet Pimpernel series on audiobook via the free Librevox versions. One thing I love about them is that while the Scarlet Pimpernel is “their fearless leader,” he has his band, his league, of loyal followers. I highly recommend them. 🙂

    • Ah, that’s so neat about the Westerns! I guess I do kind of neglect to give my girl protagonists friends, too…hmm. I’ve had a lot of good friendships in my life, so I wonder why! 🙂

      I DO know that the male-dominated stories of LotR and British naval dramas are part of why my stories have mostly guys…groan. I’m fixing that a bit in this draft. 😉

  2. Love this fun list!

  3. I forgot to mention my own fandoms.
    As a kid, they revolved around Shirley Temple and Hayley Mills.
    As a teen, they were Jane Austen and Charles Dickens based. 🙂

  4. I’m a huge POTC and Robin hood fan. I did also like Master and Commander, though a bit slow for my taste. I should try watching or reading it again. Huge Robin Hood fan growing up. I loved that animated movie 🙂 Then POTC I owned all 4 before 3 of them were stolen. POTC and LOST hugely influenced my first completed Manuscript, an action adventure set in the 17th century. However, it needs a whole lot of work and I don’t know if I”m going to pursue writing YA. Maybe someday I can do both NA romance and YA 🙂 And historical fiction. Dreams!

    • Your copies of POTC were stolen? Aww, how awful!

      I think Horatio Hornblower is more fast-paced than Master and Commander, if you’re interested in something similar! 🙂

  5. This reads like a list of my favorite things! 🙂 I’ve never really gotten into Horatio Hornblower or Master & Commander, but my dad read all the books you discuss out loud to me as a kid, which is probably at least part of why I ended up becoming a writer myself. 🙂

    • Read-alouds have such a huge impact on kids! 😀 My mom read most of the books to me, but my dad did read Narnia. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


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