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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I is for Influence
It's one of the most commonly asked questions during author interviews. "What novelists would you say influenced your own writing when you were growing up?" Most of the time the answers are comprised of the usual suspects, high profile writers who've sold oodles of books. For me it would be Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ed McBain, Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Pat Conroy, and many many more. But every now and then there are a few who make the list who...well let's just say they've flown under the radar.
There's another question that's asked in a lot in these interviews, and its "What was it that made you want to become a writer?" For me, the answer to that question is forever linked to the first.
I write because I love the feeling of seeing how my words/story affects others. I adore pulling at my readers heart-strings, making their heart race, forcing their hand to fly to their mouth in shock, or how they're unable to suppress a laugh in a quiet room. In my own small way, I am influencing them.
Some would say that influence can often lead to imitation (which could have easily been my I word today). Though it is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, I'm not trying to imitate the way that King, Koontz, McBain, Christie, Spillane or Conroy write. I'm trying to imitate the way they made me feel when I read their work. Every one of them held me hostage, manipulated my emotions, and left me the better for it. That is the nuts and bolts of why I write.
It's beyond my wildest dreams to become as influential as the writers above, and many others like them, but to be one of those authors who fly under the radar and possibly influence some other future writer? That would be a gift indeed.
Did you know that I'm running a contest over at my regular blog, Cruising Altitude 2.0? No? You can read all about it HERE, then you can hop right on over there.