28 March 2014

Friday Fifteen: Jeanette O'Hagan

Friday Fifteen: Fifteen authors who have influenced you.

Today I'd like to welcome Jeanette O'Hagan to share her Friday Fifteen. Jeanette loves reading, art, travel, catching up for coffee with friends and communicating God’s great love for each one of His children.

Jeanette's Friday Fifteen

It is very, very hard to limit the authors who have impacted on my life to fifteen. So I’m going to stay with fiction authors and not mention the non-fiction writers like Isobel Kuhn and John Stott etc who have also been influential in my life.

1. C. S. Lewis 
Lewis is my all time favourite author. He enchanted me with the Narnia series when I was seven and introduced me to my favourite genre—fantasy. He inspires me as a writer both in his fictional works (Narnia, his Sci-Fi trilogy, Til We Have Faces) and in his theological and apologetic works. I love that he was a brilliant man who could explain Christian Faith in everyday language and with such lucidity.

2. J. R. R. Tolkien
What can I say—his Lord of the Rings swept me away into a new world as a young teen. Both he and Lewis have been very influential on my own world building.  I read his Children of Hurin recently and found myself weeping at the end, not something I’m usually prone to.

3. James Fenimore Cooper
I read the Last of the Mohicans at nine, around the time we moved from Mt Isa to Africa. Something about the pathos of Uncas, the Last of the Mohicans (along with half-Indian hero of a series by a less famous author) spoke to my own sense of loneliness and displacement and helped create my first character Agwynellen.  Gwyn was in many ways my alter ego—who I was and who I wanted to be.

4. Leo Tolstoy
I was entranced at the grandeur and scale of his War and Peace and loved the way he wove his faith into the story.

5. Jane Austen
We studied Mansfield Park in Grade 11 and I loved it so much I made a point of tracking down every one of her books and reading them. She instilled in me a love for thoughtful romance.

6. Isaac Asimov
I devoured his science fiction, particularly his Foundation series and Robot series but also more obscure ones like The God’s Themselves. I enjoyed the way he combined imagination, human foibles and brilliant extrapolations of futuristic science and technology, usually with a touch of romance.

7. Louisa May Alcott
I think maybe I indentified with Jo in Little Women and enjoyed the telling of her unconventional romance with Professor Bauer.

8. Anne McCaffrey
She swept me away with her Dragonriders of Pern series and intrigued me with The Ship Who Sang. I loved other authors too, like Julian May and Marion Zimmer Bradley – but McCafferty has a hopefulness to her fiction that I like.

9. Ursula Le Guin
Always challenging and empathetic, her sci-fiction and fantasy made me think.

10. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
While a lot of their fantasy often doesn’t seem particularly deep, there was something about it that made me think, especially the Deathgate series where I found Haplo and his dog particularly intriguing.  

11. Dorothy Sayers
I loved the perfection and intellectual challenge of her detective novels—and also that she was a thoughtful theologian.

12. Kim Edwards
While she is probably better known for The Memory-Keeper’s Daughter, I particularly liked her Lake of Dreams. I like the way she is able to weave spiritual and moral searching into her fiction.

13. Paula Vince
I find Paula’s books great reads with suspense, intrigue, romance and faith weaved through challenging and provocative situations. I particularly like the believable and sensitive way she characterises troubled young people.

14. Suzanne Collins
While I have some qualms about the role of violence in The Hunger Games trilogy, these books were a gripping read and raise important questions about contemporary society (the role of media and reality TV, inequality etc). And I liked Katniss as a strong female lead.

15. Christopher Paolini

I’ve read the first three of his Inheritance Cycle and have the fourth on hold at the library. I found them straight out enjoyable reads. I particularly love his characterisation and world building.  He draws of Star Wars, Dragon Riders of Pern and Tolkien for inspiration but brings about his own imaginative synthesis – something I hope I am doing with my own world building in my Akrad series.

About Jeanette O'Hagan

Jeanette O’Hagan lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband Tony and two beautiful children. She has returned to her love of writing after various careers as medical practitioner, theology lecturer and full-time mum. She blogs and is currently writing her fourth manuscript in the as yet unpublished Akrad series. She writes poems, short stories and non-fiction pieces and is studying a Masters of Arts (Writing). She has enjoyed speaking opportunities to challenge and inspire through an annual ethics seminar, preaching and speaking at retreats. You can find Jeanette on Facebook, or one of her websites:


Would you like to contribute a Friday Fifteen? If so, email me via my contact page to set a date. Contributions are welcome from anyone—readers, reviewers and authors. It's an opportunity to share some of the authors (and books) which have influenced you, and to pick up some ideas for new authors to read.


  1. Hi Jeanette and Iola,
    What a great list that would be for young adult homeschoolers to read through at their leisure. In fact, I might print it off for mine.
    Thanks so much for #13. That makes me really happy, especially the reasons you've given.
    I'm looking forward to more of these Friday 15 posts.

  2. Oh, I forgot to mention, my husband has just discovered the Weis/Hickman writing team. He's been enjoying them, although he hasn't read the Deathgate series. He also enjoyed some of Margaret Weis on her own, without Tracy Hickman.

  3. Hi Paula - It's a well deserved mention as I love your books :) I'm chuffed that your printing off my list for young adult homeschoolers. These Friday 15 posts are a great idea Iola and I, like Paula, am look forward to reading some more.