I read The Lord of the Rings when I was around 13 years old, actually after I had read more of Stephen King and Clive Barker’s early work. I had seen the Rankin Bass film years earlier in the mid-eighties. I read Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg in my early teens as well and was quite taken with it. I had also gotten more and more into comics, my absolute favorite being Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. With hand-painted covers by Dave McKean, that title was like nothing I’d ever read. It’s first real miniseries, The Doll’s House, effectively altered what I felt could be done within the medium. I was also quite taken with Dan Brereton’s The Psycho, Gotham by Gaslight, The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, and Tapping the Vein. I didn’t read the Watchmen graphic novel until years later, when I heard that the film would soon be coming out. I had greatly enjoyed Zack Snyder’s version of Dawn of the Dead and wanted to see what he could bring to what is considered Alan Moore’s masterpiece. I also got into the Gladstone EC reprints, possibly aided and abetted by my love for the original Creepshow comic book tie-in by Bernie Wrightson. Around the turn of the millennium, I bought my first dvd player so that I could play the New Line Cinema special editions of Fight Club and Se7en, which I had just about worn out on VHS. They were very extensive, the FC one going so far as to include both domestic and foreign commercials for the film. I went on to become something of a film buff, but that had really started on VHS; I went through a long exploitation film phase where I saw such films as Irreversible, Cannibal Holocaust, Nekromantik, Naked Blood, In a Glass Cage, Funny Games and the like. But if you want to see a real masterpiece … Cannibal! The Musical. Trust me on this one.
A friend loaned me The Alienist in 2011 or so. At the time, I was actually working in Manhattan, so it was kind of funny to read this Victorian serial killer story and then half the locations were familiar from my day to day life. It was epic; I enjoyed the sequel even more, The Angel of Darkness. They both have a very grimdark tone. I also began to read many of the Barnes and Noble classics that I could afford at the time. The Call of the Wild, Heart of Darkness, Ivanhoe, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist. My sense of dialogue is probably most influenced by Richard Price and Dennis Lehane. If you want the best, the most fluid and believable dialogue, most of the time you need to go read a crime fiction novel. Characters in those kind of books for some reason talk just like people do in real life. The three Price books I’ve read are Lush Life, Bloodbrothers and Clockers. The two Lehane books I’ve read to date are Mystic River and Shutter Island. All are highly recommended, and the dialogue is first rate. Some modern novels have been very influential … A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay, We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson, The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher to name a few.
Oddly enough, I also take influence from other mediums as well, such as the visual arts and even some forms of music. I am a heavy metal enthusiast and listened to a good deal of it while writing my first three novellas. I’ve mixed it up with soundtracks in the past year or so as I work on my fourth one and a lot of short stories. Paintings influence me; I like the baroque period best. The darkness and the heavy religious themes such as the saints, martyrs and deities echo my work and that of other comparable dark speculative fiction writers in a way. All that stuff soaks into one’s prose and colors it, flavors it, and hopefully makes it more entertaining in the long run. So just to catch up to the present, I’m currently working on my fourth and (possibly heaviest so far) novella, The Angel of the Grave; the projected release date is May 1st, 2018. Also, my first three novellas are available on Amazon KDP if anyone is interested; I also have a decent variety of free content and reviews on the web via my WordPress site and various other blogs. Thank you very much and see you around the web!
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