Sunday 18 September 2016

'Erm, why are you now Epicsugarwolf'?

So, what does Dan TDM, PythonGB, Stampy Cat (Longnose) and CorvxKenchin all have in common? Anyone? You do, of course, have to know who (yes who, not what!) they are to begin with. Well, duh! Where have you been if you don’t know? Not watching You Tubers playing Undertale/Geometry Dash/Minecraft on one device while you actually play Undertale/Geometry Dash/Minecraft on the other, that’s for sure! So get a life! You’re so embarrassing! *rolls eyes then slams bedroom door*

‘I didn’t have any of this!’ I tell my kids, sounding like my mother when 5 channels instead of 4 became a technological TV revolution. ‘I was happy with my typewriter and Tippex!’ Neither of them hear me through their headphones, of course. It was certainly true, apart from making crappy mix tapes of the top 40 every Sunday afternoon and spending far too much time winding back tape into cassettes and charging my – ehem – rechargeable batteries (I was posh, obviously). I wasn’t a gamer back then as I didn’t know such things existed, that came later at university, and I enjoy a good dose of Elder Scrolls Online as much as the next geek (I’m a pretty high level 220 champion, if I’m allowed to boast), but the day my daughter accidentally changed my google username to Epicsugarwolf (link provided for anyone interested!) while setting up her You Tube channel was the day I realised I’m actually very far behind the times.

Having a blog isn’t enough, it seems. She is excited to have a handful of subscribers, while my niece has over 100, so that’s big news for her. They have never done a ‘face reveal’ (look it up), as they’re far too young, but instead do voiceovers of themselves playing games such as Movie Star Planet, Minecraft, Roblox (a game that is totally swag, or so I’m told) and Animal Jam. Instead of physical items for Christmas they want Robux (eh?), gems and diamonds. Virtual ones, of course. Despite some reservations (my daughter is heavily monitored and I can keep an eye on her You Tubing), I am quietly impressed that she has trained herself on computer software so she can put together videos, and is one of many kids who want to be a You Tube hit. Realistically it’s about as probable as me becoming a bestselling author (I still dream!), but who am I to tell her she’ll never achieve it? It’s currently number 2 on career choices for 11 year olds, and I’m not surprised. My son’s heroes and favourite celebrities aren’t on that old box sitting in the corner of the living room, but instead exist online and at conventions such as Insomnia where kids can get a glimpse of their favourite vloggers.

I’m not completely immune to it myself, I do enjoy the weekly delight that are Rosanna Pansino’s cakey bakey skills in Nerdy Nummies, but I can feel the generational gap between my children and me and what they consider entertainment. They laugh when I suggest their own kids and grandchildren will, in years to come, think what they are doing now is lame (or whatever the equivalent word will be!). Perhaps they are right, and it won’t be actually so different, except television will be obsolete and all fame, with the possible exception of movie stars, will be accessed over the internet.

All I’m saying is, if you want not to suck next time you’re talking to a switched-on 10 year old with a love of Minecraft, check out a You Tuber or two, such as Dan TDM, who has like a massive house and pugs and dyes his hair blue ‘n stuff and like a bazillion followers – sorry, subscribers (DUH). Oh yeah, and he also has a dead swag diamond minecart. Virtually, of course.

Saturday 2 July 2016

The perils of political fact and fiction: it's all gone bonkers update

'Well, s**t the f*****g bed.' 

That was the quite classic Facebook reaction of one friend in the early hours of June 24th, and the only one which gave me cause to smile. Indeed, I concurred with his shock, but I won't go into the whys and wherefores here. I'll stick to the topic in hand: fact v fiction, and why too much inspiration can be quite the headache.

Brain melt: too...much...happening...

Quite often, when writing political fiction, events can overtake when you’re busy tapping away on the laptop keys, mind buzzing with story lines which would surely be far too crazy to happen in real life. Until now I’ve found that, although this has been the case on more than one occasion, I’ve been able to shrug it off, joke about a disclaimer or two when actual events mirror my writing. But, for the past week or so, I think real life has surpassed itself.

Gove is looking quite the Colin Scott - would he seek to usurp a leader in a coma? Very possibly...

If anyone has actually read the blurbs for my two books, Party Games and Power Play (I hope one or two of you have!), you’ll discover they’re all about personal and political animosities, rivalry, love, a huge dose of backstabbing and naked ambition. When I first started writing them, years ago, I thought a leader being shot by an old colleague with a grudge then left in a coma, plunging his party into the grip of his narcissistic rival as the Right surged ahead, would be probably too far-fetched. Cornish devolution and the threat of EU withdrawal were ridiculous policies I could have my antagonist promise with my tongue firmly in my cheek, safe in the knowledge I was literally just making it up. A party stuck with a leader it hated, voted in on a popular grassroots vote, would surely be anathema, pure fantasy, so I could just about get away with it by saying to those who might argue that politicians don’t talk/act/plot like that, that anything goes in fiction writing. Keep your hair on, it’s made up, mate! But, oh dear God, I fear my own writing is tame in comparison.

My latest book, Power Play, is available from Amazon here

Until now, Australian politics has been the one to watch. The animosity of the Rudd/Gillard years and Labor’s infighting in their wonderfully titled ‘party room’ gave me food for thought. But never mind Gove promising their points system. He has already carried out what was until recently a trademark of Aussie backstabbing in Canberra – political regicide. 

The Rudd/Gillard civil war, now tame in the face of current UK politics

Hang on, I thought two days ago, only the baddies in my novels would turn on a supposed friend, those of low morals who would do anything – and I mean anything – for the crown. I am two thirds of the way through my final book, End Game, and although I have an ending I want to stick to, it’s very tempting to move away from it and write something so outrageous it couldn’t possibly happen. True, I’ve actually got literal as well as political casualties as the Tory Party falls apart under the ‘Fuhrer’s’ leadership as the resistance gathers pace, but I feel as though my writing is getting swept along on a tide of crazy.

So, although I love a good bit of plotting, for the sake of my creative zen, please can things just calm down a bit so I can get End Game finished? All this insanity is incredibly distracting! 

Wednesday 1 June 2016

A send-off for Castle, one of America's greatest TV shows (and detectives/fictional crime writers/hair cuts). Ever.

I may have mentioned on this blog once or twice (perhaps more!) my love for the ABC series Castle, and how if I could be any fictional TV character I would be him, etc ,etc. 

Here he is, just to continue this point:

Ahh, Richard Castle. Lovely, lovely, perfect Castle....

Today I’ve been feeling out of sorts, one of those days where you can’t concentrate on anything much – not even novel writing – and I’ve got a bit of nausea going on. It wasn’t until I sat looking forlornly out of the window that I realised my problem: I’m in mourning. I watched the very last episode ever, the season 8 finale, last night. Now my world has gone dark, how can I cope without the next season to look forward to?

The moment you realise your favourite show is cancelled...

Not that this season has been its best, its hay-day was in seasons 4 and 5 when the hunt was on for Beckett’s mother’s killer, but still, I can’t help but think there was mileage for a season 9 without Beckett (Stana Katic was fired and wouldn’t have gone on to a season 9). It lost the plot, literally, part way through 8 when I had forgotten what Locksat was (did we ever really know?). It was, somehow, connected to Senator Bracken and Beckett’s mother’s murder – I think?! It was never really elaborated on, there was no ‘reminder’ in the script and things plodded on for a while. Beckett and Castle had to pretend they weren’t together any longer (wtf?), which grated and didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. I get she was trying to protect him, but it stunted not only their relationship but the overarching series storyline.

But it never lost its charm, the weekly deaths making for the usual pacey whodunnits, and Castle himself was fresh with charisma and one-liners right up to the end. I could have imagined a season 9, Rick with a new sidekick (NOT a love interest, perhaps Beckett had gone on a really flipping long assignment in Paris like Camile in Death in Paradise) and his great hair, envious writing career and private detective work could have continued. He could have his own spin-off, it could be called Castle

I’m not one for fan fiction (apart from a stint 13 years ago), but in my head it plays out quite nicely. So I’m terribly sad to see Nathan Fillion leave our screens, despite having a great innings at 8 seasons, which most US shows can only dream of. So long and farewell, my TV hero, you will be missed!

Waaaaah, waaaaaah!

Which leads me to a bit of a rant to end the post….WHY ON EARTH CANCEL LIMITLESS?? A witty, well-made, often quirky show off the back of the rather crappy film of the same name with Bradley Cooper (who makes cameo appearances from time to time), Limitless was fresh with a charismatic lead which appeared to be doing well for CBS and was a second season shoo-in. It just shows that you can’t trust American networks and really you should wait until a programme gets a second season renewal before bothering with the first season! So I have been dealing with a double whammy of TV misery.

Bye, bye, Brian Finch and your collection of horrible jumpers

I am, however, chuffed that Sleepy Hollow has been renewed, but also rather surprised without a certain lead…still, perhaps Ichabod Crane will come across a crime writing novelist with an over-active imagination and a love for paranormal theory, and a cross-over will be born….

So to end on a high note, here's a picture of Ichabod, aka Tom Mison. See you again soon, me English muffin!

Monday 21 March 2016

The perils of Westminster fact and fiction

You'd think I'd be at least a bit excited when real life imitates fiction. As a writer of fictional political shenanigans, the potential for real and imagined cross-over comes with the territory, and back in January (three months is a hell of a long time in politics!) I was thanking Jeremy Corbyn and Labour for providing me with some inspiration for the third book in my trilogy, End Game.

While some of my not-so-nice characters are loosely based on real people (who are now thankfully long dead, but that’s for another post), the danger of writing a Westminster thriller is that stuff can come true. And although a very small part of me is self-congratulatory for accidentally dabbling in a bit of political prediction, for the most part I begin to panic. Is such-a-character actually a bit like real-life X, when I didn’t intend that? Actually no, they’re possibly more like real-life Y, but with a bit of X thrown in….

In the end I end up going a bit mad trying to work it out, so I give up and just carry on writing them how I have seen them for the past few months, possibly years, depending on whether they have been with me through the first two books.

I’m only up to chapter seven of End Game and already I’m pondering a disclaimer. Without giving too much of the game away, it’s the third in my trilogy (Party Games and Power Play being books 1 and 2 respectively). Civil war is ravaging a broken Conservative Party in Opposition (with all the navel-gazing that entails), and at its head is a despotic leader who sees himself as untouchable, bullying and threatening those he should be courting. He tightens his grip as a growing rebellion threatens to break him, surrounding himself with sycophants and narcissists, while treachery is closer than he thinks.

The prologue sees two senior conspirators, both of whom are in the shadow cabinet, and one of whom is the Leader’s closest confidante, meeting to announce their secret plot to a group of rebel backbenchers. I wrote that last year, not long after the general election, so it was far more pie in the sky back then, all those many political months ago. Perhaps, having been around to see a number of Tory leaders come and go (some more quickly than others!) I shouldn’t have been quite so naïve, particularly as my first book, Party Games, took some inspiration from the (original) resignation of Iain Duncan Smith.

There will be plenty of events in End Game which I would eat not just my hat but my entire wardrobe if they actually happened (while seriously laughing my arse off), although reality can certainly be stranger than any fiction I can think up.

@Snoozeinbrief wasn’t wrong (with perhaps Blair and Brown being an exception) when he tweeted ‘The Tories are so much better at infighting than Labour. They really put their heart into it’, which is why, of course, they are such fun to write about. But there is a fine line between drawing inspiration and copying the current climate, unless of course you make it clear from the start this is what you are doing. End Game won’t be out until 2017, so of course plenty will happen between now and then, but I’ll have that disclaimer at the ready just in case.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Why I'm not feeling the January blues - much

Traditionally January is the most depressing month. Christmas is done with and the weather's still crap but without the twinkly lights and the presents (unless you've got a birthday in January like some I know - bad timing, people!), you may be feeling a bit more podgy than you did a month before and you've already broken your new year's resolution not to eat so much cake. In years gone by I've felt the same, that festive lethargy still in your mindset but that little bit more gloomy as the first of the train delays leave you freezing on the station platform at 7am. But this year I have a gift: that being Jeremy Corbyn and the current state of the Labour Party.

True, it's terrible for democracy, an Opposition ripping itself apart, navel-gazing while the Government can relax at being pretty much unopposed for the foreseeable future. But, for me and my writing, Corbyn's time - however long or short - at Labour's helm are more literary ideas and inspiration in the bank for book three of my trilogy.

When I published my second book in 2014, Power Play, I knew it was a ridiculous notion. A radical leader with dangerous views taking over a political party, alienating the moderates (i.e. those with a more pragmatic approach to philosophy and policy), sending most of them to the back benches where they plot to overthrow said leader before he rips their beloved party apart. They are terrified of de-selection (the leadership throwing them out of their seat by the next General Election), hiding in the shadows, talking of splitting from the leader and his fundamental beliefs. The only difference being (apart from being Right rather than Left, although the two are one of the same in extremes) is that my fictional leader, Colin Scott, along with his 'henchmen' (and women), has an iron grip on his party and nobody would dare speak out against him in public. He has a real thirst for power, whereas it's quite clear Corbyn does not.

Nevertheless, when Corbyn was elected last year, I thought Arghhh!  I'll need a disclaimer! but then, while the botched reshuffle went on (and on) this week and I tweeted about my own 'revenge reshuffle' in Power Play (perhaps Corbyn should give it a read and see how it should really be done), I thought: this is amazing. Along with the fall of UKIP and the disappearance of the BNP (also in Power Play) I've predicted the beginning of the end for the partisan system in the UK. Well, not quite...but if I don't laugh about the similarities I would probably cry. Then laugh again.

So, while I'm now making more progress with End Game, the final book, the pressure's on to get ahead of the game (no pun intended) throughout 2016 and write things before they happen in real life. Sure, as Jeffrey Archer once said, truth can be stranger than fiction, but what if it's the same? It's a conundrum I'll have fun with and despair over during the coming months. And I can't wait.

Both Party Games (book 1) and Power Play (book 2) are now 99p each on Amazon.

Sunday 29 November 2015

A second festive chat with Susan Buchanan

I am delighted to welcome back Susan Buchanan to my blog. How time has flown since my interview last year when she told me to ‘watch this space’ about a sequel to The Christmas Spirit!

I asked her, over a cosy cuppa, all about her and how she likes to spend her Christmas, so today she’s taken time from her hectic schedule to chat about Return of the Christmas Spirit, an uplifting and heart-warming sequel to her multi-reviewed 5-star novel. It’s a new place and with new people, all except for one important person to help make Christmas special…

Thanks again for joining me, and I’m soooo excited Return of the Christmas Spirit is finally out! For those who haven’t read The Christmas Spirit (although I heartily recommend you do!), tell me, briefly, what it’s about.

Thanks, Emma, pleasure to be here again. You’re too kind.

Well, the blurb probably explains it best, so here you go! But as an addendum, let me just say it’s about peace and goodwill and community spirit.

Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it. 

Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing. 

Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her? 

Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year. 

Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season? 

The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?

To buy The Christmas Spirit visit Amazon

When you first wrote The Christmas Spirit, were you imagining a sequel?

Actually, no, but everyone seemed to love the characters and Natalie, in particular, was a big hit. I’m hoping her reinvention will be equally warmly received.

I love Star and the idea that we have a guardian angel watching over us. Where did the idea come from?

Initially, I’m not sure I had intended for there to be any magical elements to the book (funny when you think how it turned out!). I’m quite an organic writer, so I have ideas for characters and bits of plot floating around in my head, then I write them all down, and now (having learned the hard way!) I try to map out roughly what each chapter is going to be about, but if that changes along the way, so be it. I just liked the idea that some people who were having a really terrible time, with no possibility of having a good Christmas as a result, would have a helping hand from somewhere, which could turn everything around.

Is Star a guardian angel?

I love that Return of The Christmas Spirit is a sequel but involving all new characters (except one, of course!) and a new place. Tell me a bit about how you develop your characters.

Well, I think to start with they just come to me. I wanted to represent several age groups and both sexes, so whereas in The Christmas Spirit we had Stanley who was in his eighties, in the new novel we have Arianna, who is only sixteen.  Rebecca, Jacob and Sophie were all in their twenties/thirties in The Christmas Spirit, so this time I wanted to have those in their fifties represented. Although we still have thirty-something Daniel! Then I think about their families, their jobs, their personalities. I do know more about them than I ever put on the page. I tend to make quite a lot of notes and jot down when I think of something new to do with the character, to avoid continuity errors. I keep separate Word docs for each character.

Apart from Star, my favourite character is Evan, I rooted for him all the way through as you feel so sorry for the way his life is heading. Who is your favourite and why?

I don’t know that I have a favourite. I like them all in different ways, sincerely. However, if I had to pick one, I’d choose a minor character, and that’s Leo. He’s funny, sexy, sophisticated and a lovely guy.

You tackle the issue of depression and how it can affect not just that person but 
those around them. Did it take a lot of research to deal with it in a sensitive way?

Obviously I hope I’ve dealt with it in a sensitive way. I’ve tried my best. I didn’t want to linger on it too much. It is a Christmas book, after all, so I tried to be subtle. Yes, I researched it as best I could. I always do with any aspect of my writing, but particularly those I know next to nothing about. The two things that struck me the most about depression are that it often goes undiagnosed and that the symptoms are so diverse.

Love is definitely in the air, but so is compassion, hope and new beginnings, so I see it less of a romance novel and more about the human (as well as Christmas!) spirit as a whole. Would you agree?

Absolutely. Like its predecessor, The Christmas Spirit, this novel is about the goodness in each of us and the world in general. Compassion is exactly the right word. Of course there are two romances in the novel, too, but it’s not a romance novel. It’s a feel-good tale about community spirit and  familial, platonic and romantic love.

I have to admit I Googled Butterburn, where Return of The Christmas Spirit is set, but couldn’t find it so assume it’s fiction! Is it based on anywhere you know? I would love to think that the library at least is real!

Ha, ha. Butterburn is fictional. I actually took the name from Buttermere in the Lake District, which is a tiny hamlet, gorgeous, next to hee-haw there, but lovely place to go walking. I then 'scotified' (my own invention) the name to ‘burn’. Fortunately that works too for the north of England where it’s set! I did, however, also have initially in my head the village of Hawkshead in Cumbria, which I am sure I had read about not long before coming up with the name, as being in the top 10 quaint places in the UK. I’d seen the pics and loved it. It was the inspiration for the name Hawksmeade in the book, although Hawskmeade is a town (in my book a fictional one!)

How I obviously visualise Butterburn....

You talk quite a bit about Christmas traditions from around the world, which I found fascinating. Do you have an interest in other cultures and Christmas?

I just love other cultures and countries generally. You may remember until two years ago I was a big travel nut and at last count had visited 57 countries, many of them several times. I love Christmas, so often when I travelled I brought back something Christmassy from the country I’d visited. Many of these are baubles which adorn my tree every year. I have so many now, I am going to have to cull them this year!

I have Italian friends, and they celebrate La Befana on 6th January. Even from very young it has interested me that some people celebrate occasions at different times from us here in the UK. The saint’s day in Spain was something else I used to love – you got an extra present on your saint’s name day. And my other half has Dutch ancestry, so he was brought up knowing about Sinterklaas. In fact, we’re locking horns over Antonia and Luke getting to open their presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, as our family traditions are different! I am, however, putting my foot down!

Sinterklaas, why perm your beard? And what've you done with Rudolf?!

Will there be a third instalment? I can just see Star (or whatever her new name would be) going from place to place secretly spreading more Christmas cheer!

Hmm, I’m not sure. If so, it won’t be anytime soon. I have a few other Christmas books in my head, and I don’t even think there will be one in 2016, as I am working on other non-Christmas projects. I like to leave things pretty open. There might be another tale in the future, but perhaps with the next generation – I think you will know what I mean, having read the book! Leaving that cryptic puzzle there for you anyway!

I Can’t resist a little question about Christmas for you this year. Now you’ve got your new addition, will it be hectic with two little ones or are you hoping for a spot of pampering?

Pampering? Pampering? (sorry, I just spent the last ten minutes rolling about the floor laughing!) No, it will be all hands on deck. Luke is crawling, almost walking, and I fully expect him to be walking by Christmas Day. He already coasts along the sofa very quickly. I am very much looking forward to Christmas, though. Presents are in hand, Santa has been asked to stop at the house. I am shattered trying to prepare for the onslaught of presents. Every time I declutter something to make space, something else appears!  I cannot wait for Christmas morning. Antonia will go berserk. She is a very enthusiastic wee girl. She will be jumping up and down with excitement when she sees all the presents – I can envisage it now. I may have to clear all the furniture out of my living room to make space! And Luke will happily eat the wrapping paper and pull everything out and steamroller over everything in his path. Bliss.

 I might get a bacon roll or a smoked salmon one with cream cheese (Tony, if you read this, take note!) but no pampering. Christmas is for the kids.

I am, however, having a few nights out before Christmas, so I suppose that counts as pampering.

Christmas morning in the Buchanan household??

What’s next for Susan Buchanan – are you continuing your proofreading business and do you have plans for more writing in 2016?

Oh yes. In fact, Perfect Prose Services is booked up for about 8 months! I love this aspect of my life. I read books I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily read, I learn things from other authors, including vocabulary, given the range of genres I’m covering. I love working on US manuscripts too, as I enjoy the differences between US and British English, and even just the different turns of phrase. That will be the linguist in me. And I really think that working on others’ manuscripts helps me as a writer, too.

I have plans to write a book in 2016 which will be pitched at traditional publishers, just to see what happens, and either before or after that, I will work on What If again. It will be odd working on it, having left it for over two years. I’ve never done that with a book before or since.

Plus when I was on maternity leave, I had at least forty ideas for novels, all of which I saved in a file, so all I have to do is figure out which book to write next. Rest assured there are plenty more books to come!

You sound like you've got a busy time ahead! Thanks so much, a pleasure as always. Have some yule log for the road!

You know me, I never refuse grub! Thanks m’dear. Had fun, as usual. Have a fab Crimbo, Sooz x

To download Return of the Christmas Spirit go to Amazon:

Follow Sooz on Twitter @susan_buchanan

Sunday 13 September 2015

In celebration of Roald Dahl Day

Being hidden from the world today trying to fix a dodgy computer (well, the hubby was, if we're to be picky!) and making Sunday lunch for my brood, I have to admit I hadn't realised it was Roald Dahl Day. Thanks to good old (well it's been around for a few years now so in my kids' world it's ancient) Twitter, I discovered it was trending with many people reminiscing about their favourite books and the gloriumptous number of words Dahl created for his 'gobblefunk' language. Why not make words up? All words were invented at some point, and why should Shakespeare have the monopoly? I'd like to think Dahl would be whoopsy-splunkers that people were online creating babblement about his words and works. Apparently to be confused if to be 'muggled'. I'm sure I've heard a very similar word more recently...

 Snozzcumbers, apparently!!

Of course, like so many of my generation, we were brought up on Dahl and waited impatiently for the next book, although I had a few on tape as well. Yes, tape, not CD, and I was always worried it would wear out after many, many times through my tape player....

Similar to my old Walkman on which I played Dahl's tapes over many happy hours (why didn't I keep it and flog it today on ebay for a small fortune??).

Boggis and Bunce and Bean,
One fat, one short, one lean,
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were equally horrid and mean

I ADORED my tape of Fantastic Mr Fox. I didn't need pictures for that, only my imagination, as I lay in bed at night listening and imagining the scenes. The richness of Dahl's worlds were captivating and inspiring for my own writing at the time, especially Revolting Rhymes (who knew Red Riding Hood kept a pistol in her knickers?) and Dirty Beasts (The Tummy Beast is genuinely scary!).

"I'm getting hungry, I want eats! I want lots of chocs and sweets!"

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was also a firm favourite on tape, although the Vermicious Knids were quite eerie and Dr Who-like, and ahhh the Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company is such a beautiful tale with a true happy ending.

I could write for hours about each of the Dahl books I read growing up in the 1980s (The Witches, The BFG, The Twits, Matilda, George's Marvellous Medicine...) and what memories they created, but I'm sure I would be one small voice among many praising the 99th birthday of a man who brought words (both real and invented) to life for millions of children, and continues to do so today. They are timeless, and although more recent authors have tried to emulate him, I feel he can never quite be replaced. But, if he has inspired writers and readers alike, then surely that is the greatest compliment he can be paid, and his lasting legacy.