Beowulf is a true classic, and in The Boneless Mercies, author April Genevieve Tucholke puts a new spin on it. In The Boneless Mercies, readers will encounter a group of young female mercenaries who hunt a terrifying beast. But Tucholke was inspired by far more than just Beowulf as she worked on this new retelling. Here, Tucholke shares four books and one movie that influenced her creative process.
I haven’t yet read all of Neil Gaiman’s works, but I adored The Graveyard Book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I listened to both via audiobook—Gaiman often narrates his own stories and he excels at it. He also narrated the audio version of Norse Mythology—this collection of Norse myths is informative while also being fun and witty.
This is an anthology of the first three novellas featuring the characters of Dunk and Egg, and it is a great way to get a George R.R. Martin fix between HBO seasons, especially if you don’t have the time or determination to read one of his 1000-page Song of Ice and Fire books. The first novella introduces Dunk, a young, tall, not-overly-bright hedge knight, and Egg, the highly intelligent prince-in-disguise with the heart of gold. Dunk and Egg wander Westeros, seeking adventure. This idea of roaming companions sparked the creation of the four main characters in The Boneless Mercies.
This work of historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell has been described as a real-life inspired Game of Thrones. It tells the story of the Danes attacking Britain in the ninth century, and how the entire country almost fell to the Vikings. Cornwell’s storytelling is gritty and riveting. There are, perhaps, a few too many detailed descriptions of long, bloody, battles, but it’s impossible not to root for the main character Uhtred—he’s proud and reckless, brave and mischievous, and just heroic enough to make you deeply invested in his happiness. The recent BBC adaptation of the series is also superb.
Yes, I know it’s not a book, but there is something about this film, from the unique, brutal world to Ashitaka’s quest, to the character of the wolf-raised San—it haunts me, and has influenced my writing in so many ways.
April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, Wink Poppy Midnight, and The Boneless Mercies. Her books have been published in fourteen countries, and have received eight starred reviews. They have been selected for the Junior Library Guild, Kids’ Indie Next picks, and YALSA Teens Top Ten. When she’s not writing, April likes walking in the woods, exploring abandoned houses, and drinking expensive coffee. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.