One of the coolest things about writing a novel is being able to share my influences with people. And man, have I been influenced; there have been many, many hands that assisted in shaping my brain matter into the form it is now. The first influential book I want to mention, however, is a little bit unusual, in that it is not a novel but a "how to" book entitled "The Easy Way to Quit Smoking", by Alan Carr.
It's hard to explain the effect this book had on me, but it went beyond helping me quit smoking. The book did not so much stop one from smoking as much as it brought one to a mindset where one perceived of stepping away from the nicotine addiction as not only supremely logical, but easy and fun as well. My addiction to tobacco was not some moral weakness of mine, but a trap I had fallen into and could find a way out of, with simple step by step instructions. Its influence is apparent in my debut novel, in the way my protagonist feels imprisoned by various forces beyond his control. His eventual liberation is comparable to the elation and freedom I felt when I smoked my last cigarette. I really can't explain to you the joy I felt at that moment, a joy that has spilled over into many different areas of my life and stays with me to this day. The comparison between smoking and escape artistry will be even more obvious in my next book, tentatively titled Perchance to Dream.