While growing up, Christopher raided the local library’s shelves, voraciously reading what came to be thousands of books in differing genres. He developed a love for stories that could sweep him away into fantastical worlds filled with magic and adventure. Some of these volumes sparked the inspiration for the story that would become the Inheritance Cycle. One of the most influential of these is Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville, a tale in which a young boy purchases what he thinks is a stone, only to discover it is a dragon’s egg. Christopher explains:
I liked the idea so much, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I asked three questions: what land would a dragon egg come from, who would find it, and—since dragon eggs can’t be common—who else would be looking for it? My quest to answer those questions led me to envision the story that became Eragon.
So imagine Christopher’s excitement when he was recently asked to write the forward for the book Realms: The Roleplaying Art of Tony DiTerlizzi, featuring the artwork of Tony DiTerlizzi, who had illustrated the cover for Jeremy Thatcher—an image that Christopher feels perfectly captures the relationship between boy and dragon! When Tony found out just how influential his work had been on Christopher, the artist sent him an autographed print of the piece, personalized with the message, “For DRAGONMASTER and friend, Christopher.” The treasured art now hangs in Christopher’s room in a place of honor.
Curious to see more? Check out the rest of this article series, as well as Christopher’s interviews with Bruce Coville and Tony DiTerlizzi respectively!