What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
Hardly anything highbrow, believe me. In the early 50s, I discovered
the narcotic of reading and my first sense of an author was R. Sidney
Bowen, who'd written a series of WWII boys adventure novels the decade
before. Dave Dawson with the RAF was the first I read, and possibly
Red Randall at Pearl Harbor the second. The books didn't just take
over my mind for a day, but probably, in truth, for the next 50-odd
years. It was quickly enough that I dictated my first novel to my
mother, all three paragraphs of it. As I recall, my hero (probably
named "Steve Superior") shot down seven or eight ME-109s with his
eight howling Browning .50 caliber air cooled machine guns by para no.
2, leaving para 3 for denoument. Now, 14 novels into my whatever-it-
is career, I'm still in thrall to Mr. Bowen, still writing about
howling Browning .50 caliber air-cooled machine guns, and hope I
haven't let him down. He sure never let me down.