This post was written over a year ago on my own blog, but didn't get much in the way of responses. Thought it was an interesting topic, so I'm trying again here:
One of the questions I often ask writers is: What book got you into writing?
There are a lot of answers, naturally. Writers range from Lehane to Chandler to Mosely to Hemingway to Shakespeare.
And all are understandable.
But I've been thinking about it, and while there are several books that got me into writing (and I'm sure I've mentioned them here), I can only think of one movie.
I saw In the Line of Fire in the theaters with my parents. It was probably in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I also remember seeing the preview for it when I saw GROUNDHOG DAY.
The preview was John Malkovich, in a voice over, talking about killing the President. While that was happening, all you saw on screen was 1963. The sound of a ticking clock. The "6" spun around to become a "9." At the end of the voice over, Clint Eastwood slams down the phone and says "That's not gonna happen."
I was all in.
We saw it in the theater, and my heart was in my throat as Clint looked through the SEATING CHART (!!) to find Malkovich. When he got dragged on to the elevator at the end. Hell, the rooftop chase. Learning the correct way to spell "ukulele."
Great movie. Still holds up.
And I remember renting the movie and watching it again with my family. And I remember a scene--a montage--late in the film where the Secret Service is planning for the President's arrival and Malkovich is putting on his fatsuit disguise.
And I absently said, "I wonder how this would read in a book."
My parents started talking about how they'd do it, chapter by chapter with about twenty pages of description. How it would be all about building suspense and pacing. I started to play with it in my mind. How would I word those two scenes? Would I try to intertwine them or split them up? Had I read a book like that?
Afterwards, I started to track down political thrillers. I remember reading a book by Jefferey Archer about Saddam Hussein stealing the Declaration of Independence. Something by Christopher Hyde. Trying to get through PATRIOT GAMES by Clancy.
None of them brought the same feel that the movie did. At least not to my freshman mind.
So... now I'm trying to write a book with that feel.
What about you? What movies have inspired you?