Happy Memorial Day from the Mysteristas

Today is a day of thought and remembrance. Of for a sunburn and pool time. Or some mixture of both.

But I want to focus on the original meaning of the holiday for the briefest of posts (because I know we all have things to do today). I just want us all to take a moment and think about what passed-on author has inspired each of us the most in our writing. Someone who we’d memorialize and remember on this day.

For me, it’s a tricky choice. My favorite writer of all time is F. Scott Fitzgerald. He’s a man who was dead more than fifty years before I was born. But his books are some of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most as a reader. That said, I’m not sure they affected me much as a writer, other than understanding what a good editor can do (This would be why “The Great Gatsby” reads so differently from the rest of his works).

So, I’m going to pick a more recently gone author: Stieg Larsson.

Again, he was gone before I even heard his name, dying of heart attack before even getting to enjoy the massive, world-wide success his “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and subsequent books would enjoy. However, that first book hit me as hard as it hit anyone else. I couldn’t put it down, tearing through it on a family vacation in which I completely ignored my family.

I’m not sure he’s affected my writing as much as showing me what is possible from a multi-headed thriller. I’ve learned so much about getting the breadcrumbs just right reading his books. And about creating characters who aren’t totally perfect and how real that can make them. He’s an amazing writer, definitely gone too early.

As a writer, what passed-on author would you choose to memorialize today?


8 thoughts on “Happy Memorial Day from the Mysteristas”

  1. Yes, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the rest. It’s not that the writing was brilliant. It was the passion. He said things about how women are treated in this world that somehow only a man could say without a lot of kickback.


  2. Mary Stewart. She’s one of my favorite writers who made me want to write just like her. I love the way she showed ambience and introduced me to new settings!


  3. Wow, tough question. It was Mary Higgins Clark who first made me say “I want to do that,” but she’s still alive. So, although it might be trite, I’ll have to say Agatha Christie. Yes, some of her plots have “cheats.” But it was through reading Christie that I developed that long-standing love of the mystery genre. And I still thing MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is one of the best “locked room” mysteries I’ve ever read.


    1. Doris Lessing. She went through so much in her life that I experienced a decade later. I always read her to see what she thought about things.


  4. Madeleine L’Engle. Adored her books. I loved reading as a child, but discovering her books took my interest to a whole new level, and made me really think as I read. I wish I could have met her.


  5. L.M. Montgomery…her characters Anne Shirley and Emily Starr were writers (plus, there was The Story Girl). Her insistence on the potential and necessity of storytelling was incredibly inspirational.


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