It’s no secret that I’m a huge TV fan — I have been since I was a kid. I watch more shows than I can name here, and our TiVo is packed. We also routinely watch entire TV seasons, like those of Alias, Buffy, NCIS, Veronica Mars, Monk, Human Target, and others. I get a lot of things from watching TV — information, entertainment, and not least of all, relaxation. I love sitting down and losing myself in a good TV show the way we do in books, though after writing all day, it’s easier for me to glom onto a TV show (I still love to read, obviously, but TV is just easier…).
However, I also get inspiration from TV shows; they have definitely influenced my writing, and even my writing style. My favorites are detective/mystery shows and shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Property Brothers, Top Gear and Market Warriors, etc. Every now and then, one of these shows will grab me for some reason, more than the others, and books ideas or hero ideas start perking — like race car driver Reese Winston from I’ll be Yours for Christmas (Top Gear) or my self-pub mystery, the Sophie Turner series, inspired by shows like Veronica Mars, Monk, Numb3rs, and the old show The Ghost Whisperer. But I think almost every book I write has some conscious or unconscious root in TV. Sometimes it’s just a name — a surly hero named Don (from Numb3rs) or an adventurous guy named Chance (His Kind of Trouble, my homage to Human Target). Maybe it’s just something in the character dynamic or simply the looks of a character that I want to draw forward into a book, or some plot point that I grab and then take in my own direction, but no doubt, TV is a constant source of material for my imagination. Current favorites are Person of Interest, Property Brothers and American Pickers... can’t get enough.
It even affects how I write — I’ve had more than one editor tell me that my books sometimes read like TV shows, with lots of action and dialogue, and I write in a short space — I like pushing a lot of story into a short format, rather than long, sprawling books — give me novellas or category length books any day of the week (and has it happens, I’m not as much of a movie buff and I whine if a movie is longer than 90 min, unless it’s really good!).
I know there are other TV addicts out there, and we all talk about celebrities and characters who inspire our books — what are some of yours? If you’re not a writer, feel free to join in with discussion of your favorite TV show, something I’m always willing to talk about.