Thursday, November 4, 2010


Books that changed my mind By Scott Nicholson

Books are mileposts on the journey of life, and sometimes books can tie you to a feeling or time or situation in the way that a smell might evoke a memory.

Dr. Seuss was my entry into the world of the bizarre, though I can’t remember which books first affected me. I do remember the “Pale Green Pants With Nobody Inside Them” and “Clark in the park in the dark” as spooky imagery, and later on “The Lorax” ensured I’d be a lifelong environmentalist. 

When I started “chapter books,” I read anything I could get my hands on, so I don’t have any particular memories except Hardee Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. I also remember reading “The Exorcist” and “The Sentinel,” as well as “The Amityville Horror,” at the same time I was reading a lot of comic books. Perhaps that’s where my “spiritual horror” influence arose.

In my teens, I read some science fiction, but it wasn’t until I hit a Kurt Vonnegut binge that I really had a “favorite author.” I read most of his books in one stretch but, for whatever reason, I never read any of his books after that. Instead, I was already thinking I was going to be a writer, so I moved on to Steinbeck, Twain, and Hemingway like they teach you in college writing classes.

It was in college where I first read Richard Brautigan’s “Hawkline Monster” and I love his original, fresh writing, though he’s considered something of a hippie downer now. Books like “The Catcher in the Rye” were okay, but I didn’t see them as subversive. In the 1980’s, I read a lot of cheesy horror, things like Shaun Hutson’s “Slugs” and James Herbert’s “Rats,” and then started reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Shirley Jackson was influential to me, but in the 1990s, Ira Levin and William Goldman were probably my favorite writers. Levin’s “This Perfect Day” remains one of my favorite books, and I’ve probably read it more times than any book besides “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” But when I first started writing, I was definitely trying to emulate Ray Bradbury. Luckily, that’s impossible, so by falling far short I became “Scott Nicholson.”

Lately, I read all over the place, from Charlotte McLeod to Sandra Brown to William Meikle to Bentley Little. I find myself increasingly drawn to the “strange thriller” genre, with books that have plots but also use elements usually reserved for “literary fiction.” Jonathan Lethem’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” Bret Easton Ellis’s “Less Than Zero,” the Dexter series, Chuck Palahniuk, and Max Brooks tend to weigh on me after the book is finished—which is the true hallmark of success.

Those influences conspired in “As I Die Lying,” my thriller that officially launches Nov. 6. It breaks a few rules and took 14 years to write. I am not sure I can predict my next influences, since I’m reading new indie books in varying genres. The one thing I know for sure is that there’s no reason to ever be bored!

Elton Scott

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, As I Die Lying, Burial to Follow ,and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, and Flowers 

To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details at

Be sure to visit the other tour stops for more chances to enter!

Thanks Scott for the great guest post and the awesome giveaway!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

- See more at: