David Gemmell: Few authors gripped me as a reader like David Gemmell, no long and winding over descriptive, boring passages littered in his books to pad out the word and page count. He kept his descriptions to the basics leaving your imagination to fill in the rest and kept the story moving along briskly. From his first novel “Legend” through all the other Drenai Tales and in particular any story featuring the Axeman Druss, I would describe his books as “unputdownable”. His ability to transport me to the battlefield or the ramparts of Dros Delnoch are journeys I greatly miss since he passed away. His sometimes tortured heroes fighting for redemption are obviously an influence I have to acknowledge for my first novel in “The Unsired” series.
Robert E Howard: The writer of Conan The Barbarian and so many other characters is not only an influence but also a sad lesson to learn from. No matter how bad things get there is always something better waiting around the corner, and it is such a pity he never got to bask in the glory and the fame he so richly deserved. Having had a couple of lows in my life similar to those that affected him, I have chosen to learn from him and battle on towards seeing what is around the corner. I was so disappointed at the second Conan film that I sat down that very evening and started writing a sword and sorcery story myself. Now a few years later I’m finally getting my finger out and starting to put that story down. Lendrax-The Ultra Warrior will be my own first sword and sorcery novel, and it is currently at the advanced planning stage.
Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurts: “Magician” certainly started something special for me and the follow up books were bought as soon as they were Raymond E Feist – Magician available. The structure and planning Raymond has to all his stories is something I admire greatly, as well as characters like Pug who I have to admit to closely identifying with. When he teamed with Janny for the “Daughter trilogy”, it was a writing match made in heaven. Suddenly here I was a late twenties early thirties soldier finding a story with a non-sword wielding female lead character not only interesting but totally absorbing and there wasn’t even any sex in it, magic and inspired story telling indeed.
Michael Moorcock: One word says it all to me where Michael is concerned, the word is “Elric”. The stories about the sickly albino king with the soul stealing sword “Stormbringer” were another collection I had to have every book of. The mixture of tragedy and adventure were something I have again found influencing my characters, so I tip my hat and nod my head to acknowledge this.
Robert E Vardeman & Victor Milan: Another writing partnership that was made in heaven as far as I’m concerned, their two War Of Powers books were quite literally an eye opener for me way back in the early eighties. What a great adventure featuring a brawny hero, and a very hot princess up against an evil queen and a sadistic henchman at her side. They were the first sword and sorcery books I can recall that had a certain amount of eroticism to them too.
Nancy A Collins: Recommended by Andromeda Book store in Birmingham in their mail order catalogue I used to subscribe to while travelling the world in the forces, “Sunglasses After Dark” is one of my favourite vampire novels. I was glad to see Nancy stay away from some of the old tried and trusted myths and legends and forge ahead with her own interpretation. I also liked the fact she had a kick ass leading lady who used her vampire powers to great effect sorting out those who deserved sorting out.
Don Pendleton: Mack Bolan, “The Executioner”, series was one of my favourites back in the late seventies and early eighties. I think I had about thirty or so of them and loved the mix of action and adventure and how he planned out the attack on the various Mafia organisations around the country. I think “Nightmare In New York” was my favourite where he gets shot by the wife of one of the bad guys. Typical hero stuff he won’t shoot her as she’s an innocent and eventually the bad guy ends up changing sides. The girls who look after him were also characters I can vividly recall, and especially the way in which they nursed him back to health. I have to acknowledge that in “The Unsired” my lead character has a lot of Mack Bolan in him, and in my planned bodyguard novel “Protect And Survive” the main character has also been influenced by Don’s most famous character.
Ian Fleming: Being a movie buff like wot I am, I have to acknowledge the man behind one of my favourite characters, 007 himself, Bond, James Bond. As a youngster my father and I would go to see the double bill re-runs together in the days before video, digital versatile discs and downloads. Of course I wanted to be Bond, what kid didn’t want the guns the cars and the gadgets. Let’s not forget the gorgeous women too, like Solitaire played by Jane Seymour who has remained my personal dream date for many a year. I will be the first to admit there is a lot of Bond in Pieter and of all the actors to have played Bond, I reckon if you mixed Connery, Brosnan and Craig together you’d have just the right amount of steely eyed resolve and cold blooded necessity to deal with the vampires in the way they deserve, as well as the confident manly swagger they have displayed in their roles. Probably the biggest influence I’ve taken from Bond is the little quips or one liners Pieter throws after the newly dispatched vampires or those that work with them as he sends them to meet their maker.
Anne Rice: Anyone who writes about modern day vampires and doesn’t acknowledge what Anne has done is not showing her due respect. She bought the vampires back into vogue and showed they could be interesting again. I believe her stories were the spark that ignited the current interest in all things vampire and certainly helped start my own literary ball rolling. I’d also like to thank her for the advice she gives through her website for new aspiring authors like me. Words of wisdom from someone who has been there, done it all, and knows what she is talking about … respect.