“Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.” – Mickey Spillane
Born on this date in 1918, Spillane was a master of “successfully getting to that last page” with his tales. Born Frank Morrison Spillane, “Mickey” created one of the most memorable of characters, the hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer. At the height of his popularity in 1980, Spillane, who died in 2006, was responsible for a remarkable 7 of the year’s 15 top-selling fiction books featuring his hero.
Like many great writers, Spillane used “life experiences” as background for his own work, starting during his high school days in New Jersey. His jobs included a time with the circus, lifeguarding, meatcutting, bartending and flying – something that led to time in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Spillane, who died in 2006, said he was “a writer not an author” who also loved to read, especially about history. “I think a lot of authors like history because they want to be part of it,” he once said. During the course of selling well over 225 million copies of his books, he succeeded.
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