As a professional novelist and technical writer/editor, I have supremely benefited from a life-long personal interest in a wide and eclectic range of subjects:
Geology; French symbolist poetry; medieval English and French literatures; fashion history; electronics and electricity; quilting; architecture; botany; horses; dams in the American West; the history of medicine in Europe and America; art in general and visual arts of the 19th century in particular; film directors and their techniques; music and composers; etymology and philology; rhetoric (in its original meaning); the Renaissance; U.S. military history; development of the Industrial United States (1876-1915); the history of the 11th century in Great Britain; and France: her language, literature, history, people, and the peculiarities that are quite the norm for the French. Many other topics arouse my curiosity; I research them as they appeal to me. If a topic does not hold interest for me, I do not research it.
When I am reading my way through a book, I go through it quickly in either of two ways: I either read the book from cover to cover with enthusiasm; or I struggle through the first few pages (at times up to a chapter), and then I decide that the book is so bad that it does not deserve my attention or even donation. It goes straight into the garbage.
I never read the end of a book first, although any writer of fiction has to know the ending of the story before ever putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard for the beginning. And my first sale on smashwords.com was Volume II (TWO), not Volume I, of THE DAWN. A sale is a sale but the idea that the ending was purchased before the beginning was something that offended not just my sensibilities but surely those of Guillaume de Vallon!
I have been influenced, for better and for worse, by everyone and everything that I have read, but of special and endearing interest to me are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, Blaise Pascal, Victor Hugo, and Louis L’Amour. I enjoy reading French aloud, particularly the plays of Corneille and Molière; Balzac; and poetry from any era prior to the 20th century. I also enjoy singing various types of music, specifically Italian arias and Irish ballads. These vocal activities assist me in developing the “voices” for narration and characters in my novels.