Guest Post: Glen Erik Hamilton on “Friends with Words”

Hard Cold Winter, Glen Erik Hamilton’s follow-up to his highly regarded debut, Past Crimes, puts his former criminal and soldier into even a tougher spot than in the first book. In Hard Cold Winter, Hamilton’s protagonist gets involved with the murder of a prominent Seattle citizen’s son and the sister of one of his shady friends from the past. In this guest blog post he sent along, Hamilton discusses his bookshelf, and how he uses different works for different forms of inspiration. 


Friends with Words

© 2016 Glen Erik Hamilton

I have a bookshelf. Quite a few shelves, of course, but this one particular shelf is within reach of the little desk where I do most of my writing. Too easy a reach.

We’re not a procrastination, the books seem to say. Not like playing with the cat, or the horrible abyss of the internet. We’ll HELP you.

Shut up, you novels. Later. I’ve got an hour scheduled for reading later. That’s my reward for getting these pages done.

I turn back to the keyboard. Back to typing, with hands slightly shaky.

Some authors choose not to indulge in reading other fiction while they are hammering out the first draft of their latest work. A hardcore few go so far as to avoid reading at all, except between books. They fear that the phrases or plot twists or rhythms they read will somehow be replicated in their writing, and they might wind up with a pale imitation of their favorite author, or worse, a Frankensteinian mishmash of colliding styles. Better to abstain, and keep their pages pure.

That brand of austerity doesn’t work for me. I’m hardly ever between books, for one thing. Recently, I saw a quote from Lawrence Kasdan (Yes, on the internet; don’t judge me.) He said: “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.”

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