Yomi asked Michael J. Sullivan:

Hi, Michael What inspired and influence to create your character's personality and scenery in your books? Thank for your time.

Michael J. Sullivan Hey Yomi,
That really should be an easy question...but it's not. Sometimes it's not until long after the books are done that I see certain influences. I'll give you an example.

I rarely watch television, but one afternoon I was flipping through channels and came across an old series from the 1960's and 1970's. It was called "I Spy" and it started Robert Kulp and Bill Cosby as a pair of spys who go around posing as a tennis player and his coach.

When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite shows, but I didn't even realize how much I loved it until I sat there watching that old re-run. Then...after a while I said to myself, "Oh...hey...they are a lot like Hadrian and Royce!"

So, obviously those two had an influence on me but not a conscious one. It was decades later that I made the connection. Sometimes I do know where things come from. For instance there is a scene in the Emerald Storm where Royce is sea sick and Hadrian brings him some bread to settle his stomach. Royce balks and Hadrian tries to entice him by saying, "It has raisins in it. You like raisins." Well for anyone who is familiar with a cult classic movie called "Better Off Dead" (starring John Kusack) you'll know immediately where that influence came in.

Then there are times when I am my own influence. I "threw in" a little detail in one of my books about a father that had a problem expressing his love for his daughter openly. So he would buy her hair brushes from throughout the world that he traveled. Each time he gave her one, what he was really doing is saying, "I love you." Years later she loses all the hair brushes in a disaster...but her body guard went to great lengths and returned one. He never said it was him, but she knew it was. That was a great way to show how much he cared for her without him coming out and saying a word (which he really can't because of the difference in their social conditions.

I think bottom line, almost everything I'm exposed to becomes an inspiration or influence. That's why it's important for authors to not live "sheltered lives" - by getting out and see the world we have so much more to pull from. Thanks for asking!

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