One of the things that has been going through my brain recently is that people want to know where ideas come from. Why did an author write a particular story? This is one of the reasons why people comb through archives.
And because nothing is new in the world, except the way things are combined, what things influenced the writer. Is it possible to follow logic backwards and read the influences? As I have been reading lots of Icelandic sagas and have seen how close some of it is to Tolkien and Wagner, I can understand the appeal.
I have touched on this before. If you go back to July 2007, you can see my influences for The Roman's Virgin Mistress for example. To briefly recap: they range from the Anna Nicole Smith trial to Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer (a firm favourite of both mine and my then editor btw -- read it, if you haven't) to a scene from the movie Howl's Moving Castle to Catullus to Ovid to Julius Cesar's experiences in Baiae etc. I should have perhaps included movies from the 1930s/1940s and 1950s. I have great fondness for Western movies with gambling scenes for example.
I did a blog on Sold & Seduced but can't find it. The one major seed was Kate Walker's Antonakos Marriage (or rather hearing Kate talk about it and mishearing certain aspects) and Beauty and the Beast, plus Roman marriage plus piracy in the Roman world. Actually all of my Roman books deal with various aspects of piracy in the Roman world.
Anyway, I think the best way to approach this is to be totally open and to do an individual post for each book etc. If I then put a link on my website. This may prove how magpie my mind is. Anyway, it should prove a benefit to any researcher who ever makes the mistake of studying me.
My blog and website are now being archived by the British Library, hence my obsession with at least trying to get where I think my influences came from, rather than having someone guess.