There have been many articles written about how to be a successful writer. Of the ones I have read, all have mentioned that you can’t be a good writer without being a reader. My advice to people who want to be writers is to read voraciously in the genre you are interested in. I have read over a thousand mysteries, starting with my dad reading them to me before I could read. That was actually one of the ways I learned to read.
Reading mysteries helped me develop a character and a style that is comfortable for me. It is a style that combines many aspects of several different authors. But my main influence was Robert Parker and his private detective, Spenser. I used the name Spencer, with a letter change, as an homage to Parker’s Spenser.
I have many favorite mystery authors, but when it comes to Spencer’s character there are only a few who influenced me, those being Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. Spencer is smart, but not quite as ingenious as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot who can sit in their favorite chaisr and ponder a problem. Spencer has to go out and “shake the trees until something falls out.” [Read more…]