Hillel Italie at Yahoo News, "Dan Brown Court Papers Fascinate" (a short piece with telling excerpts from the witness statement in the lawsuit):
Brown had been raised on the Great Books, from Faulkner to Dostoevsky, but it was literature of a very different kind that inspired him to try fiction himself. On a fateful 1993 vacation to Tahiti, Brown brought along a copy of Sidney Sheldon's 'The Doomsday Conspiracy.'
'It held my attention, kept me turning pages, and reminded me how much fun it could be to read,' Brown writes. 'The simplicity of the prose and the efficiency of the story line was less cumbersome than the dense novels of my schooldays, and I began to suspect that maybe I could write a `thriller' of this type one day.'
He debuted in 1998 with 'The Digital Fortress,' an intelligence thriller, and followed with 'Deception Point' (a novel he found boring to write) and 'Angels & Demons,' the latter featuring Harvard University symbolist Robert Langdon, the protagonist of 'Da Vinci Code' and, Brown hopes, many more novels.
'I intend to make Robert Langdon my primary character for years to come,' Brown writes. 'His expertise in symbology and iconography affords him the luxury of potentially limitless adventures in exotic locales.'
"The dense novels of my schooldays"! If Dan Brown did not exist, we would have to invent him. Digital Fortress is the only book of his I've read (they are not so much my kind of thing); I did not think it a good book, but on the other hand I very much admired its pacing & indeed took back to my own novel in progress the idea that the chapters should be much shorter. He's not good on character and voice, but there's some strong storytelling stuff going on (does that sound impossibly condescending? the man's a bestseller after all!) that we might all learn something from.
(Link via ArtsJournal Publishing.)