I love reading. Many of the books I've read have influenced my writing. Unworthy has been notably influenced by travelling books such as The Valley of Horses and The Crimson Chalice, both read many years ago. One of the reasons for my fascination with travelling books is the way that the journey occurs both physically and also emotionally - the characters move from place to place but also develop emotionally as they travel. I've tried to capture this in Unworthy, both for Arcadia and for Alex.
My favourite book of recent times is Justin Cronin's The Passage (and The Twelve). I don't generally read zombie fiction - and dislike the paranormal genre in general - but it is so beautifully written that I was halfway through it before I realised, "This is a zombie book!" and carried on reading anyway.
Unworthy is intended for a younger audience than The Passage, but it was a springboard for my planning. I considered the current trend towards apocalyptic books - war, disease, zombies - and wondered what would happen if there was a country that could escape the actual apocalypse and survive in isolation. What would that country look like two hundred years down the track? What would the values of its people be?
In this sense Unworthy has its roots in books such as Z for Zachariah, which I read to my class of seniors nearly a decade ago. Even then it was an old book, and none of them had discovered it yet. The idea of writing a dystopian book without focusing on the actual apocalypse part interested me, and Z for Zachariah does this so neatly.
The Game of Thrones series has me enraptured, and I drew some inspiration from the relationship between Jaime and Brienne, which of course is another travelling story, the end of which we have yet to be told.