Author Raymond Benson started this meme on Facebook and it's quickly catching on. My list, of novelists and screenwriters, in no particular order is:
2. Ian Fleming
3. Robert B. Parker
4. John Irving
5. Larry McMurtry
8. Roy Huggins
9. Ross MacDonald
10. Richard Maibaum
13. Elmore Leonard
15. Ed McBain
16. E.F Wallengren
17. Michael Gleason
18. Ross H. Spencer
19. Stephen King
20. A.B. Guthrie
21. Blake Edwards
23. Norman Lear
24. Neil Simon
25. Carl Hiaasen
Of course, immediately after compiling the list, I started thinking of people I left out… like Charles Willeford, Donald Hamilton, "Franklin W. Dixon," "Carolyn Keene," the guy who wrote "Encyclopedia Brown," the guy(s) who wrote "The Three Investigators," Steven Bochco, Leslie Charteris, Levinson & Link, Robert Ludlum, James Crumley, Trevanian, and Rod Serling…but I only had 25. (Pictured: Michael Gleason and Robert B. Parker & I).
4 thoughts on “25 Writers Who Have Influenced Me”
You look so young in that picture. Was that back in the SPENSER FOR HIRE days?
Nope, that picture was taken at the Edgar banquet in 2002. I was thirty-nine years old.
Kinda cool seeing Blake Edwards’ name up there. Ask 50 people familiar him and 49 will say he’s a director and leave it at that.
And of course, he IS a director. But they forget (or don’t know) that Blake Edwards wrote or co-wrote virtually all of his movies and broke into directing as a scriptwriter. Matter of fact, I think he got his start in radio!
I got my M.A. in English, so the three classic writers who have influenced me are Shakespeare, Jane Austin and Tolstoy. Xenophon is also very good along with Herodotus. The modern writers you mentioned are all great. I would add Alistir McLean to the list and Winston Graham, who wrote the Poldark saga.
One superb writer who is underestimated is Somerset Maugham. His short stories are among the best. And two of his novels are immortal: “Of Human Bondage” and “The Razor’s Edge.” He also wrote entertaining plays: “The Land of Promise” holds up well.