What inspires you to write fiction? The answer to that question differs from writer to writer. Some writers I have spoken to say that they knew from their earliest years that they wanted to write fiction, and that writing has been part of their daily routine since elementary school. Still others come to fiction writing later in life. Many develop an interest in fiction writing during High School when a particular book, author or teacher inspires them. For others, the desire to write fiction comes later, during college, or in still others not until later in life. For many writers (I am one of them), the desire to write fiction was suppressed for years by the need to generate cash, a task more easily accomplished by producing technical and non-fiction works – paying gigs if you will. Still, I wonder how many authors can say that after reading a particular book, that they were inspired to create one of their own.
Having been an avid reader all of my life, it is very difficult for me to say that one book has caused more of my creative juices to flow than another. To try to come up with my most inspirational novel (not necessarily the best novel), I turned to my “re-read shelf”. This is a shelf on my bookcase that contains the few (very few) novels that I would like to re-read between now and The End – the BIG End. As I say, a very select few novels sit on this shelf (more on those titles another day).
One book that inspired me greatly was William Ryan’s, “Dr. Excitement’s Elixir of Longevity”. This 1986 novel is about an ex-Navy SEAL, known as Dr. Excitement, who struggles to readjust to civilian life after serving in Vietnam. For some reason this book struck a cord with me, and I thought that if I wrote a novel that I would want it to look a lot like this one.
But in this blog (except for Indie books), I am not doing book reviews. Suffice to say, Dr. Excitement is no longer in print, although if you check Amazon you’ll find used copies available. By the way, if you can get your hands on a copy, the black and white photo of a tortured looking William Ryan, hand on forehead, staring blankly with an empty shot glass before him is worth whatever small price they are asking. Which leads me to the question: What has happened to William Ryan? With such a classic (to me anyway), I would expect Mr. Ryan to have published many acclaimed works since 1986. The only other William Ryan title I can find is a collection of poetry titled “Eating the Heart out of the Enemy”, which I do not own.
Anyway, this is what is on my mind today. If you have a novel that you found to be especially inspiring, please leave a comment. Or, if you have any idea of what has happened to William Ryan, I would like to hear from you.