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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Getting to the Destination

 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 


Writers map out a book like a journey, so that as you are moving along and your characters are creating lives of their own and dragging you along with them, you still know that eventually you are going to end up at the same place.

Born on this date in 1918 as Frank Morrison Spillane, “Mickey” was a master of “getting to the destination.”  He 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.

Like many great writers, he 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.

Frank “Mickey” Spillane

Spillane said he was “a writer not an author” who also love to read, especially about history.  “I think a lot of authors like history because they want to be part of it,” he once said.  And, of course, during the course of selling well over 225 million copies of his books, he succeeded.

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