Ian Vasquez, a copy editor at the St. Petersburg Times, just published his first novel, In the Heat (see review, Page 8). Vasquez, 42, is busy editing his second novel and writing his third: "Having a contract really makes you want to write." What is on your nightstand?
I just finished Meg Abbott's Queenpin. It has that noirish '50s style, but she makes it her own. It's like an old black and white movie, that snappy dialogue. I've also been dipping in and out of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee. It's good for anybody in the narrative arts.
What writers have influenced you?
One of my favorite authors, though I don't write anything like him, is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His fictional world is so much his own. You recognize the qualities of society and people, but it's so strange and bizarre. I love Elmore Leonard. He doesn't waste your time. He gives you a character in one sentence, and he writes the best dialogue.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor