Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Thursday, August 9, 2018


This is only one section of my library and I have book cases in other rooms, too.

From early childhood we’ve listened to stories and imagined ourselves in that world. It got even better when we learned to read and could lose ourselves in books we chose. Animal stories, adventures, mysteries like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys fired our imagination.
We get inspiration from our reading. We all know that we must document or acknowledge in some way words taken from another writer. However, we can and do get ideas from our reading. I read once that a well-known mystery writer, (I won’t mention her name) doesn’t believe in reading because it might affect her writing, by changing her voice or some such thing. That might be why after reading three or four of her books, I grew tired of her protagonist because she never seemed to grow or change.

I think I have everyone of her books now.

Although some writers do try to copy famous writers most writers who get inspiration from books they’ve read put their own spin on it or have taken characters from books from the 19th century and used them in a different way. Laurie R. King did a fine job with her Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell series.
Inspiration from other authors has been around since books were written, I’m not sure where P.G. Wodehouse got his idea for Bertie and Jeeves, but I do know Dorothy L. Sayers read and enjoyed Wodehouse. Even before I read her biography I saw similarities between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bertie. Both were upper class (common in books at that time) both had exuberant personalities and both had man servants. Sayers may have been inspired by Bertie and Jeeves, but she changed the characters significantly. Lord Peter was far more intelligent than Bertie. He served in World War I and suffered shell shock from the experience, while Bertie never had problems that weren’t silly and usually of his own making. Both of the man servants were helpful, but Bunter was totally devoted to Lord Peter with good reason, and Jeeves was rather contemptuous of Bertie.

I've read her books twice & will read them again.

Moving forward forty or fifty years to America, I see Lord Peter Wimsey in Jane Langton’s Homer Kelly. True, he’s not of the upper class nor does he have a manservant, but he has the same exuberant personality, Like Wimsey, Homer Kelly is intelligent. He’s a college professor and inquisitive. Instead of a man servant, he has a wife who supports him and tones down his exuberance at times. And like Wodehouse and Sayers to a lesser extent, Langton’s books are delightfully funny.

I've already started rereading all her books.

And then we get to Elizabeth George’s mysteries whose main character is Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley, who is addressed as Lord Asherton, although he doesn’t want to use that. He has a man servant, too, who is devoted to him. And another character who is quite delightful and funny is Constable Barbara Havers, who is usually Thomas Lynley’s side kick. I think Elizabeth George has written 22 books now, at least that’s how many of her books I’ve read. Some I’m starting to reread.
As long as there are writers we read and enjoy (and I’ve certainly not mentioned all of them), those writers in some way inspire the way we write.

 The three writers I mentioned are among my favorite mystery writers although I do have more, too. I’d love to have Jane Langton’s ability to describe characters in the unique ways she does and her delightful sense of humor. Plus, her plot twists are pure magic. Have they influenced my writing? Maybe but not obviously. It’s more in recognizing what exceptional writing is and working towards achieving that goal in my own voice and style. I’m grateful there are so many good books to read for enjoyment and inspiration.

On another note, last year I read 97 books and so far this year I have read 56 books and I’m reading two more right now. I also love Louise Penny, Margaret Maron, Linda Castillo, and the list could go on and on.
including some fellow writers in my blog group Writers Who Kill.

What writers do you particularly enjoy and admire?
What about their writing strikes a chord with you?  


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm reading Ohio authors--Jessica Strawser and Kristen Lepionka, writing a blog on Janet Evanovich, and prepping for my on-line book club discussion of WK Krueger's Iron Lake.

KM Rockwood said...

I really have too many "favorite" to name one.

Right now I'm reading A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR by Dennis Lahane. It was recommended by a friend who loves mysteries and lives in Boston, where the book is set. I almost didn't get beyond the very beginning, where he refers to smelling cordite, which is a well-known "error" that usually indicates a writer who does not know what he's talking about or has not done his research. However, I decided to reserve judgement--everybody's entitled to an occasional error--and am continuing to read it.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I have three Ohio Authors I read, too. All three are in my NEO Sinc chapter. One is Amanda Flower, another is Casey Daniels, which is not her real name and she also has another writing name, too. The third is Shelly Costa, who has only written two to my knowledge.

KM, my blog wasn't long enough to include all the writers I enjoy. I could have added your name as well as Annette Dashofy and Jim Jackson to the list. I've just started Kait Carson's books, and I really enjoyed Shari Randall's first book, too. It's been awhile since I read Linda Rodriquez's books, but I know I liked them. I only read one of Warren Bull's books quite some time ago and enjoyed it, too. Last year I mentioned that I had read a Margaret Maron marathon by rereading all her books. I've started the same thing with Elizabeth George, too. Carla Damron writes some darn good books, too.

carla said...

I love classics like Dick Francis. For more modern reading, I'm a fan of John Hart-- his narrative is evocative, though plots are bloody!

Kait said...

Thanks for the shout out, Gloria!

I can't imagine not reading. Yes, sometimes I won't read an author that writes in a similar setting to mine when I am writing that particular book, but there is no way I would shy away from reading because I am a writer. It's my joy, my relaxation, and part of my learning process!

Gloria Alden said...

Carla, I have a whole shelf in my garage of Dick Francis books. I really liked them because I am a big lover of horses. I haven't read any John Hart books and don't remember hearing of it, either.

Kait, I agree with you. It's very rare that I bother to turn on the TV. I much prefer reading and listening to one of my hundreds of music CDs. At one time I always watched Masterpiece Theater on PBS on Sundays, but for some reason I've stopped that after Downtown Abby ended.