Inspiration: Which authors do it for you?


I’ve always been a reader.  In fact, I can’t remember ever not reading.

As a child I loved anything with ponies in – Silver Snaffles by Primrose Cumming was a particular favourite – and anything with adventure.  I always had at least one Famous Five, Narnia or Secret Seven book on the go.

As I got into my teens, I became addicted to the Bond books (Ian Fleming) and Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle). Of course, whenever I could, I’d also sneak a peak at a Jilly Cooper or two – so wonderfully racy.  The stories which have always fascinated me have been the ones that are quick-paced, complex, and difficult to solve/predict.

Now, as a writer, I’m inspired by authors who can sweep me up in their story, who keep me up at night (or have me dreaming in a day-job meeting) trying to fathom out ‘who done-it’ or, more intriguingly, ‘why done-it’.

And most of all, I’m inspired by those authors who have me thinking: damn, why the hell didn’t I think of that? Or marvelling at the fabulously web-like complexity of their plot.

So, who are these authors?

Well, there’s a range …

For seat-of-your-pants action and intrigue: Jeff Abbott, Lee Child, Dan Brown, Peter James, Michael Cordy, JL Carrell and Michael Crichton.

For beautiful prose and impactful themes: Daphne du Maurier, Rosamund Lupton, Jodie Picoult and Stephen Fry.

For unusual ideas and fascinating exploration: Michael Crichton, SJ Watson, Michael Cordy and Kyle Mills.

For the most amazingly strong POV voice: Jeff Lindsay.

But if I had to pick one, the author whose books I can never put down, that get me thinking, and that I return to again and again – it’s Michael Crichton.

I’ve always found the way Crichton takes near-future science and weaves it into the plot of thrillers like Jurassic Park, Timeline, Prey and Next intriguing, interesting, and frankly rather scary.

In thrillers like A Case of Need and Disclosure, he takes the ‘normal’ worlds of Medical and Business and turns the worlds of the characters who inhabit them upside down in a highly believable way.

Then, in stories like A State of Fear, he takes current science and shows what could happen if you take opposing sides of the global warming debate and have the characters take it to its farthest, and most dramatic, conclusion.

And that is, I think, why he is my greatest inspiration: whatever the initial idea, the themes of the story, or the unusual setting, he always takes the situation from normal day-to-day all the way to ‘what’s the absolute worst that could happen?’

And it always hooks me, and gets me thinking.

Who inspires you?