Monday 22 February 2016

My Life in Books ~ talking to author Richard Mason

My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've invited authors to share with us a list of the books that are special to them and have made a lasting inspiration on their life.

I'm delighted to welcome author Richard Mason to Random Things today. Richard published his The Brown Stuff, in November of last year.  
debut novel,

I reviewed The Brown Stuff here on Random Things ~ it's funny, and rude and I loved it!

Richard shares the titles that make up his Life in Books:

Return of the Jedi by James Kahn:  By the age of ten I was already an established fan of Star Wars. 

So when this came out in 1983 I just had to read it. 

This will be the first proper book that I ever read and I have lost count of how many times I re-read it, back in the day.

The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader:  I became passionate about martial arts after seeing Jackie Chan demolish a gang of Hell's Angels in The Cannonball Run (1981 movie). So, when the opportunity to read about the highly secretive Ninja came about, I leapt at it.

This book was huge with very small writing and not really aimed at the age group I was when I bought it, so it took a few years before I eventually read it.
This was the first book that I purchased myself. 

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell:  As I grew older, my writing needed to mature and so my reading of Marvel's Comics had to take a sideline. I had the urge to read a more grown-up novel, to see how it really should be done.
Postmortem was recommended by a colleague and I loved it. 

I then bought everything ever written by Patricia Cornwell but in my opinion, Postmortem is still the best of them.

Keane: The Autobiography by Roy Keane:  As a lifelong fan of Nottingham Forest, Roy Keane was one of the greatest imports and then exports in club history. A true rags to riches tale of a young man in Irish football, spotted and bought by the twice-in-a-row European Cup Champions, before movig on to captain Manchester United during their famous 1999 treble season.
Roy Keane made me believe that if you really wanted it, you could get it.

This was the first autobiography that I purchased. 

Batman Year One by Frank Miller:  From Adam West and Burt Ward, through to Christian Bale and even the soon-to-be Ben Affleck, I've always loved Batman. It went against the grain for me because I was a Marvel boy and Batman belonged to DC.  The darker the Bat story, the more I enjoyed it, and when Frank Miller wrote Year One, this was truly THE ONE.

This was my interpretation of how graphic novels should be - dark, moody, crime noir and exactly the kind of work I wished I could produce, until ....

Sin City by Frank Miller: .... My favourite graphic novel of all time. Sin City broke the mould and Frank Miller died with this what he probably wasn't allowed to do with a Batman story - whatever he wanted. 

"The Hard Kill Goodbye", "A Dame to Kill For", "The Big Fat Kill" and "That Yellow Bastard" are books to be read one after the other. I cannot pick my favourite because they should never be separated and all together, they make up Sin City. 

Daredevil Yellow by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale:  The one is included because Daredevil has always been my favourite Marvel character and I didn't want him to become second fiddle to Batman or Sin City in the comic book stakes.

A blind lawyer by day and a kick-ass super hero by night - nuff said!

61 Hours by Lee Child:   Who says you can't judge a book by its cover?  I kept seeing this cover everywhere and eventually succumbed. I didn't care who wrote it or what it was about, I just had to read it. The 14th Jack Reacher book was my first and again, I went on to purchase the rest after reading it. 

I was also one of the unhappy fans when it was announced that Tom Cruise (5 feet tall and 100 pounds) would play Reacher (6 feet tall and between 220 - 250 pounds). Hmph!

Ice Station by Matthew Reilly: Now this is how to write non-stop actin. This is a book that literally leaves you out of breath. Matthew Reilly is famous for his fast paced stories, and this was one of his early examples.

Again, this led me to read his other books, but as this was my introduction to Reilly's awesome character, Scarecrow, it became a personal fave.

Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly: The same author as above, but introducing a different character and a different story. This is the first part of an excellent Indiana Jones style trilogy which took me back to the great on-screen adventures of the early eighties.

Once again, fast paced action and adventure that Matthew Reilly had got me used to. 

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin:  I had already watched the TV series before stepping into the gargantuan books. This enabled me to keep a basic grip of what was going on before the information was doubled, trebled and quadrupled in size. Despite the novels containing millions of pages, I found them to be exciting, fast paced and not long and drawn out.

These kind of books would have scared me ten years ago, whereas now, I just can't wait for the next one to come out.

It shows me that I've come a long way since reading Mr Tickle.

About the author, Richard Mason:
I was born in Nottinghamshire, England in 1973 and grew up on a healthy diet of Marvel Comics, cheesy American TV series, music, movies and very few books. My tastes haven't moved on too far, although I don't read the comics any more, but I do enjoy the Marvel movies and TV shows.

Despite not being a great book-lover as a child, I always loved a story, whether in a comic panel, on TV, or writing my own, it didn't matter.
My first written stories were about the superheroes that I followed and I wish that I still had them, so I could sell them to Marvel .....

My debut self-published novel The Brown Stuff is out now and is the first book of a black humour trilogy.
My usual writing genres are crime, thrillers, action, adventure, conspiracy, so when the black humour reared its sarcastic head, I embraced it.  I have a broad sense of humour and this allowed me to produce a piece of work with few boundaries. What started as a collection of hand-written short stories 7 years ago soon developed into a full story, with two more books to follow in this trilogy, and maybe more after that!

I work full-time, have a very young son and a very supportive partner; they are my motivators and a huge part of my life, and my writing has to take a slight back seat. This gave me the opportunity to delve into self-publishing after many knock-backs from publishers and literary agents.

My hobbies, away from my writing, still involve music, movies, American TV shows, UFC and football. The dust continues to gather on my Marvel comic collection.

Follow Richard Mason on Twitter @RichardMason73
Find his author page on Facebook 


  1. This is a great feature, Anne. I have read a couple of them now. It's a good way to make peoples TBR list longer too! ��

  2. Thanks Sonya, so pleased you are enjoying the series!
    A x