Tom Clancy has died at age 66. My condolences go to his family and friends.

I picked up my first Clancy novel, Red Storm Rising, when I was 12 and burned through it. Then I went back to read The Hunt For Red October. Clancy’s pacing, breadth of narrative and characters, as well as his often-in depth technical discussions were influences on my own writing. I stopped eagerly gobbling up his books around The Bear and the Dragon, not because they’d become bland, but rather I had moved on to other genres. I still have a fondness for his books.

An interesting anecdote. About 15-20 years ago, Clancy came down to the VA Hospital here in Tampa. My dad and the hospital director got to meet him. The quick conversation related to me by my dad.

Hospital Director: What’s your new book about?

Clancy: About $19.95.

Yes, I laughed for a couple of days.