In all the marketing I put together for Falling, I've said several times that the authors I most emulated are Stephen King (as everyone who's ever written a horror novel must) and Michael Crichton, because of his masterful grasp of what's been called the 'techno-thriller' subgenre.
But there's another author I haven't mentioned but whose work I had in mind a lot, especially during the later years of huge rewrites, and that's sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson.
If you haven't tried his books, you're in for both a slog and a treat. He's incredibly smart and knows the ins and outs of so many scientific and technological principles he'll make you feel smarter just from reading his work, and ironically dumber too because his intellect will leave yours in the dust.
At times his books have been so dense they were more hard work than enjoyment. When I read his classic Cryptonomicon I only managed about ten 10 pages a night before it put me to sleep, and that's because it was so mentally taxing, not because it was boring.
His more recent book Seveneves was so full of the technicalities and science of spaceflight and extra-planetary travel it felt like Stephenson could be running NASA.
He's also not afraid of grand, epic ideas. As well as sounding scientifically plausible throughout, Seveneves was an epoch-spanning saga about the future of humankind when the sudden destruction of the moon wipes out of most of the life on Earth's surface. Halfway through the doorstop-sized book, when there are only seven members of the human race left alive, a new chapter denoting 'Five Thousand Years Later' gave me shivers.
I was thinking about Stephenson again recently because he has a new book out. The reason I was so excited about it isn't just because I'm such a fan of his, though – it's the name; Fall, or, Dodge in Hell.
Call me silly believing there's some cosmic fated message about my book just because it has a similar name, but us wannabe authors will take boosts wherever we can get them.
Anyway, there's a precedent. As a film journalist I interviewed Leigh Whannell, the writer and creator behind the Saw series alongside James Wan. He told me a story about when he and Wan were trying to get interest in the original script for Saw from studios. He was driving around his native Melbourne, depressed about it not getting anywhere, when he pulled up at a traffic light behind a car whose number plate started with the letters 'SAW'. He took it as a sign from the universe, felt more galvanised and determined about making it a success, and the rest is history.
I better email Stephenson and tell him, I'm sure he'll appreciate another crazy getting in touch.