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I just had a very nice new review of Bigger Than Jesus on Amazon. It was fair and solid and four stars. No complaints, only happiness. However, I then spotted someone else comment that “He’s been dead for thirty years and people still try to imitate him.” I can only assume the commenter meant Mickey Spillane, since the reviewer noted that my main character, Jesus Diaz, is influenced by Mike Hammer (the hero of many a Spillane novel) and characters from many movies.
Jesus Diaz is a movie freak, mainly because movies are about escapism and that’s one of the great themes of The Hit Man Series: Escape. However, I must object. Spillane has only been dead since 2006 and he has new novels coming out starring Mike Hammer (to be completed by another novelist, of course, presumably with a Ouija board) all the way into 2014!
More to the point, I’ve read some Mickey Spillane and enjoyed it, but I’m not trying to imitate the author. The story is written in the same POV as Bright Lights, Big City, but I’m not trying to be Jay McInerney. I share a common worldview with Chuck Palahniuk, but I had that worldview long before I read Fight Club or any of his other excellent novels. I’m not trying to “be” anybody else in my writing. I’m me and deluded enough to think that will be sufficient.
Influences? Sure. I’ve got them. When I read Blake Crouch’s Run, I knew I wanted to have the same fast pace to the story without letting up. I love William Goldman’s talent for reversals, so just when you think you know what happens next, surprise! You don’t. I’ve learned from other writers, but it’s rather reductionist and insulting to call me an imitator. I don’t think anyone who has actually read my books would call me that. No one author owns fast pacing and cliffhangers. I call that learning, not aping. I don’t mean to be thin-skinned. I just don’t want to be mischaracterized.