Author Life
SF Benson  

5 Influential Books

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? The weather was good here in Atlanta. My husband and daughter had a great time watching the Superbowl. I realized that I was a year older than the game number. The wow factor set in and it got me to thinking…

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Which 5 Books

Have Influenced Me?


I have to start with the first book that amazed me so much that I read it over and over again. Years later, as a Girl Scout leader, I recommended to one of my Scouts. I even bought the book for her.


The Endless Steppe

by Esther Hautzig

It is June 1941. The Rudomin family has been arrested by the Russians. They are “capitalists & enemies of the people.” Forced from their home and friends in Vilna, Poland, they are herded into crowded cattle cars. Their destination: the endless steppe of Siberia.

For five years, Esther and her family live in exile, weeding potato fields and working in the mines, struggling for enough food and clothing to stay alive. Only the strength of family sustains them and gives them hope for the future.

I was in seventh grade when I discovered this book. While everyone else was busy reading Anne Frank (which I’d already read). I was devouring Esther story. I found it heart wrenching, but I admired her strength through adversity.

The next book actually is a series of books that made me rethink romance.


The O’Malley Saga

by Bertrice Small

From the incomparable New York Times bestselling author Bertrice Small comes a heroine as breathtaking as she is legendary.


Indomitable and bold in an era of royalty and rogues, Skye O’Malley is a woman who embraces her unbridled sensuality as valiantly as she fights for her children, her lovers, her empire. A woman of justice and honor, she will match wits with and challenge the most dangerous and powerful woman of her time: Queen Elizabeth I.

Though Skye is the object of every man’s fantasy, only a handful have had the thrill of tasting her enticing passions–men whose own daring adventures match her exotic forays into a world of lust, longing, and remarkable destiny. Skye’s is a stunning tale that reaches from the emerald hills of Ireland to the lush palaces of Algiers to the helm of a shipping empire, where she will wage her greatest battle for love and vengeance against the crown itself.

I loved reading about Skye. She was strong, intelligent, and sensual. Her adventures were intriguing and kept me on the edge of the seat. Before reading Bertrice Small’s books, I’d read a few Harlequin romances. I didn’t like the idea of the swooning, helpless female. Skye O’Malley was just as likely to rescue herself as the males with her.

The next books spurred me to take writing seriously and start my own career:


The Divergent Series

by Veronica Roth



The Darkness Series

by Stacey Marie Brown

DARKNESS OF LIGHT is a Mature YA/New Adult Paranormal Romance.
*Warning: Darkness Series on whole is not YA, but NA.

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.



The GearShark Series

by Cambria Hebert

Drew Forrester is a total adrenaline junkie.

His high of choice?


The faster, the better.

He’s been making waves in Maryland’s underground racing circuit since he crossed the state line, and after speaking with him, we know he’s not hitting the brakes anytime soon.

So what exactly does it take to burn rubber and make a name for yourself in a world where the only rule is there are no rules?

You gotta be hungry…

You gotta have balls…

And you can never back down.

What’ve we learned here at GearShark?

Drew is all of the above.

We also know he’s got some secrets buried under his hood.

Secrets we think are loaded with octane and just might set the world of cars on fire. 

Check out the full feature article inside…

** This book contains an M/M romance relationship. **

Veronica Roth’s books inspired me to write my first dystopian technothriller (Regress: the Alliance Chronicles, Book One). I liked the idea of a strong, teenage girl facing her fears and challenging authority.

Stacey Marie Brown’s books motivated me to try writing paranormal romance. I discovered that there was more to the usual gambit of paranormal characters and they could behave in very human, very real ways.

Finally, when I got the idea of writing a male/male romance, I turned to Cambria Hebert’s books. I loved how she painted heartfelt stories about two men. I decided it wasn’t about what went where but the feelings inside.

So, that wraps up my list of the five books that influenced me (depending upon where I was at in my life). I’m curious what books have inspired or influenced you and why.

Till tomorrow…

Keep reading!

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