Diana Wynne Jones died today. I discovered her books in the late 1990s when she was re-released because of the Harry Potter craze. My eldest and I enjoyed her works very much before he moved into Terry Pratchett. My favourites tended to be things like the Dark Lord of Derkholm which is a send up of cliched Fantasyland. She also wrote Howl's Moving Castle which was turned into an animated film where Christain Bale voiced Howl and Hexwood which has complicated plot and involves a teenager who is not what she seems -- both books bear re-reading. I loved how her mind worked. The Homeward Bounders and Dogbody linger in my mind. Although sometimes, I had to wonder if she couldn't have gone deeper into her characters or maybe I just wanted to spend more time inthe worlds she created. My daughter preferred the Chrestomanci series. She knew how to create a world that totally drew you in. Plus she had this wonderful sense of humour. They couldn't be classifed as just one thing -- were they sci fi or fantasy? They often had elements of both. I suspect she drove the marketing bods insane!
When I first started writing, my editor Helen French learnt that I liked Fantasy and reccommended Tough Guide to Fantasyland. It was a singular lesson in cliche and thinking outside the box. If you are interested in the genre at all, it is worth a read...provided you can find it.
If you haven't discover DWJ, she is worth reading. Luckily with the authors, their work is their legacy and can be enjoyed by future generations.