I remember reading a creepy illustrated children’s story in juniors. I liked it so much I copied it out word for word in pencil under the stairs because at that time stealing had not entered my small honest brain.
I also remember reading some leather bound adult espionage book, in one of those readers digest type dust jackets. This took my mind somewhere else for the first time.
Later, in English class seniors, Mrs Rogers complimented one of my short story assignments to the whole class and told them I could be a writer. Soon as she said that, the deal was sealed.
I remember reading Stephen King’s Insomnia when I was 20 and working out how many books I would have to write by the time I was forty to be anywhere near as prolific as him.
Reading James Herbert’s Others in my early twenties changed everything. It was and forever will be the best story I have or shall ever read. Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing is the most atmospheric.
The rape and murder of a woman by a gang in Bag of Bones by Stephen King sticks out as a potently powerful scene. Amazingly, he added humour to it.
Of late, my preferred reading is short story anthologies, because you can briefly breeze in and out of so many different styles. The Mammoth Books of Best New Horror (pictured) are excellent.
Horror is the best because it is the mother genre. It has romance, comedy, the lot.
(I just this minute discovered James Herbert has a new book out called ASH after four years since the last. Get in!)