One of the most rewarding parts of publishing my first novel has been the support and encouragement I’ve received from readers but also from other writers.  WOW.  I can’t believe how generous they’ve been! I should not be surprised, though….

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to have a personal friendship with the Grand Master author, Evan Hunter: you might know him as Ed McBain, author of the much praised 87th Precinct novels.  His early work includes the somewhat autobiographical novel The Blackboard Jungle; he also penned the screenplay for Hitchcock’s The Birds adapted from DuMaurier’s short story of the same name.

I met him through his son Richard-who is now a master harmonica player and author- when we were high school kids playing in a band together. In my freshman and junior years in college he and I worked together as composer/lyricists on a show Evan had written called “Hard Times”. It was a very close fluid collaboration and Evan encouraged me to find a way to bring my free-floating fiction ideas to the page, which I did in song form. Like my book my songs were often based on a character in a situation that has all of the potential to be long form but never was. A good example is the song that got me and my partner Larry Gottleib nominated for a Grammy, The Four Tops Hit “When She Was My Girl”. The bridge is When she was my girl, there was laughter and loving in my world everyday.  When she was my girl, oh what joy she would bring now I’ve lost every thing she’s gone. The great soul singer for the group, Levi Stubbs added The big legged girl is gone, which we thought was genius.

Years later, I’ve finally got to create characters and situations in a long form by writing HUMPTY DUMPTY WAS PUSHED. Better late than never

Evan had great advice for writers.  He told me the reason he was successful is that “I finish  what I start. Lots of guys give up. ” To a teenager trying to figure out why some people succeed while so many others fail in life, it made a very strong impression about how much of success has to do with the work ethic. That little piece of wisdom was a real wake-up call.

Since the publication of HUMPTY DUMPTY, I’ve heard from authors I’ve read and loved, and from some I have only recently discovered.  This includes the amazing Ken Bruen, who was a good friend of Evan’s, and whose dark novels of suspense are original, intense and compelling.  What I am discovering is that authors are also mentors, and cheerleaders.  I’m immensely proud of my novel, and this new community of like-minded scribes is a bonus I never anticipated.

Let me know who inspires you, in writing and reading.  What’s the most inspirational thing you’ve read or heard another author say?  Leave a comment.