Hello everyone!

I am new to CrimeSpace but not to reading and writing dark stories that often are “crime” related. For those who do not know me, which will be quite a few, there is one question I always ask of authors’. Now, I wish to ask this question to all of those who care to respond…

Throughout our lives there has been a single instant in which we have decided to do what it is we love to do. Perhaps when you were a kid you saw a portion of a movie you weren’t supposed to, read a book unlike any other. Maybe your dad was a cop, your mom a nurse or maybe something terrible happened to someone you knew…

What is that singular event, author, movie scene, etc. that has drawn you to write or read the types of things that has drawn your interest so profoundly as to be involved with this type of website at all? You may only pick one; I have drawn the question out on purpose. You already are thinking about answering!

Tell me?

This question, again, is open to all.

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I started writing when I was 13, mostly stuff I thought was funny, and mostly in the context of stand-up or, believe it or not, radio plays (I was a strange child).

But what got me writing mysteries was a night on the road. I was 30, staying in a hotel in a strange city, watching the Maltese Falcon on TV, a movie I'd never seen. I thought if I liked the movie I'd probably like the book. So, blame Sam Spade.

Later, when I wrote my first book, my role models were Elmore Leonard, Loren Estleman and Carl Hiaasen, but Hammett was the beginning.
I really don't think there was a single event - I progressed from Famous Five and other Enid Blyton children's mystery type stories at around age 7 to Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys at around age 9 to Agatha Christie/HRH Keating as a mid-teen, then Minette Walters/Ruth Rendell as a late teen. So I think the interest in crime and justice came from a very early age!
Hi Chip, I'm new too.
My answer to your question:
That would be, God help me, old-time radio. That's right... RADIO. We didn't get a TV until I was nearly thirteen. Till then I would park myself nightly in front of our large, honkin' radio (a dead-ringer for the one Bill Cosby described in his "Chickenheart" monologue) and listen to mystery series like "The Shadow," "Dragnet," and my personal favorite, "Jason and the Golden Fleece." Lots of times I couldn't get to sleep afterward because of the excess adrenalin.
Then, when television happened, it was "Peter Gunn," of course. Next came "I-Spy," (speaking of Cosby) and a couple of other shows that would be classified as action-adventure, but I thought of them as mysteries: "Have Gun Will Travel," and "Sea Hunt."
I detoured into Science Fiction reading after that, and took a vacation from the mystery genre that lasted a few decades. What brought me back was a house mate who read crime fiction because it was better written than most other so-called "escape literature." Now I basically read nothing that doesn't fit under the mystery umbrella.
What hooked me was the necessity in this kind of literature to create an entire universe of sensibility in the first couple of paragraphs -- just like Science Fiction in that respect. I'm not a puzzler, don't like them, have math anxiety, can't play strategy games, etc. What draws me to mysteries is a sense of wonder about the "evil that lurks within the hearts of (sic) men." I love historical fiction for the same reason, so that's why I'm nuts about Barbara Hambley's Benjamin January series.
So, as they say in Texas... there ya go.
Guess I'm another victim of the Nancy Drew series. I started writing when I was nine, and that first story was a mystery story, so I was a mystery writer from the beginning.
Count me among the Nancy Drew inspired, but I can't say that she was my only inspiration. I loved reading about Nancy and her adventures, but I also like another series about a young amateur sleuth named Encyclopedia Brown. He was kind of a kid's version of Gil Grissom from "CSI."

I think, as writers, we draw on a large number of influences. Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown certain had an influence on me, but I was also inspired by my Dad. He wasn't a cop, but he had a very strong sense of right and wrong and wasn't afraid to help someone when they needed it. He loved film noir, true crime books, and was a great storyteller. I guess it was only natural that I picked some of it up along the way.
I also read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I was collecting them for a time. My mom also read them as a kid..

I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who was hooked on those books..
I loved reading mysteries as a kid, everything from Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys to The Power Boys to Encyclopedia Brown, then moved on to Christie, Allingham, Sayers, Perry Mason, etc. But I didn't think seriously about writing mysteries until I was in graduate school and couldn't write a plot to save my life (or my grade.) Mysteries gave me a form and I realized they were the kind of books I'd always loved. So no big life-changing event; just a gradual realization.
I read a ton of crime novels as a kid - Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden followed by Agatha Christie and P.D. James; I would also argue for Madeleine L'Engle, who writes a strong sense of right and wrong into her fiction - but it wasn't until high school that I decided I wanted to write crime fiction. That's because I joined the local Police Explorer post. It was a life-altering move and made me want to write about the people I was working with - as people first and cops second.

So I'd say the previous reading experience influenced my writing, but the Exploring pulled the trigger on making me want to do it.
Hahaha... Oddly enough, I'd have to say reading The Sun Also Rises... Something about that book.. I felt that if I wanted to lead a cool life like that, I had to be a writer. Or incredibly drunk in Spain.
I never liked reading until my sister brought home a mystery, so they've been a long time fascination. The science part came from a teacher that told us it was our duty to help solve world problems, that at age 11. Since I've started writing I find that cool facts and data give me ideas that give me stories that give me questions and it doesn't stop. I keep plugging away trying to rid myself of ideas. :-) Sheri
I work in Corrections, and all my life I have always wanted to be in Law Enforcement of some kind. I have always held a fasanation for anything that involved solving a crime or investagating someone or something. I have a pretty natural knack for it. So I have always been drawn to the Murder and Mayhem type of books, or the ones that involve some type of crime.
I was influenced first and foremost by visuals, both movies and early tv. Being an old guy I saw things like 'Boston Blackie', 'China Smith' with Dan Duryea, and 'The Whistler' on tv. But then I happened to catch older movies than I was, also on tv. I went to see 'The Petrified Forest' in the theater, and was also impressed with'High Sierra' and 'The Big Sleep' and 'Casablanca' and mostly Bogart. I think I wanted Lauren Bacall more than anything else. And if she was the kind of girl a wiseguy detective or a desperate fugitive got, then I wanted in. And I spread that gospel, too. Awhile back, I heard my older son's wife say while he was channel surfing, "Go back, go back, that was Brad Pitt." And he said, "So what?' She said, "Whatta you mean, so what? He's beautiful." My son said, "Yeah, and Humphrey Bogart was butt ugly, but he was ten times cooler than Brad Pitt." She paused for awhile and then said, "Yeah. You're right." Bogart/Phillip Marlowe/Duke Mantee/Rick in the white tuxedo jacket. As for a single scene, it would have to be from 'Beat The Devil' when somebody, maybe Peter Lorre says, "It seems like the whole world's going up in smoke," and Bogart replies, "Yeah, and not a moment too soon." Case closed, Shweetheart.


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