....I'm giving big props to an old, old friend. In fact, I haven't spoken to this person since Caloosa Middle School. Let's call him Wade M. Why is this important, you ask? Because when I was around 15, Wade M. was the sole reason I got hooked on books, and thus, became a writer. Maybe that's giving too much credit, but not really.
My friend, Wade, started reading these slim action-adventure series books called MACK BOLAN, THE EXECUTIONER. No doubt, you've heard of this long-running and legendary series by the late Don Pendleton, but if not, the basic premise was Mack was a Vietnam vet who's parents were murdered by the Mafia, and upon returning from war, Mack seeks revenge by launching his war against La Cosa Nostra. The books were barely over 200 pages but with lurid covers and taut storytelling, so it was easy to get hooked. In Middle School, we were required to read a book every week or so, and write a report on it. Thankfully, my Mom indulged her son with these books, even though she had minor reservations. And I gobbled them up, reading all the Bolan books, and the 80's relaunch of Bolan's New War against Terrorism, the spinoff books, and the Jerry Ahern Survivalist and Hank Frost series. I discovered Conan the Barbarian, at some point, but by then I shifted my creativity from art (for years I drew my own cartoons and comics) to writing, emulating the action-driven stories I'd been reading voraciously. To be fair, Wade M started creating his own similar stories, which had inspired me.
Then, shortly after graduating high school in 1985, while browsing the bookstore shelves, I picked up PET SEMETARY by Stephen King...and my literary love affair with horror fiction was forever solidified.
So, in this week of giving thanks, thank you, Wade M where ever you are, my old, old friend. You might not have realized it then, but you played a big part in kickstarting my love of books and writing.