Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Tribute to the Late, Great Sidney Sheldon

Author Sidney Sheldon
A few days ago, a reviewer of my book Lust, Money & Murder said “Not since Sidney Sheldon has a male author captured the female perspective so well.  You’ll be hooked!”

I was deeply moved by this comment.  So moved, in fact, that I decided to write a post about Mr. Sheldon. 


Because Sidney Sheldon was my favorite contemporary author, and he was my hero.  It’s not at all surprising that he had a tremendous influence on my writing.

Born in 1917, Sidney Sheldon first worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood, winning an Academy Award, and then went on to become one of the world’s bestselling novelists, penning 19 books over the last 35 years of his life.  Sidney Sheldon books have been translated into over 50 different languages and sold over 300 million copies.  He died at the ripe age of 89, still writing.

Sidney Sheldon was not my hero because of all the books he sold.  Sidney Sheldon was my hero for the countless hours of entertainment he gave me and millions of other lucky readers.   Curling up in a chair and reading the latest Sidney Sheldon book was the literary equivalent of eating a moist slice of Death by Chocolate cake, an experience you relished every moment of and left you hungry for more.

His plots were packed with twists and surprises.  Do you remember in The Other Side of Midnight when you found out that the obnoxious bum that came on to the hero was actually a decorated air force pilot?  Or when the assassin in Memories of Midnight turned out not to be one of the three men you suspected, but the meek office boy the hero befriended?  Of course you do—these literary moments are unforgettable.

But Sidney Sheldon’s books provided far more than entertaining plot twists.  His heroes were truly inspirational, strong women who also maintained their softness and femininity.   Even though I'm a man, his books gave me hope when I was down, inner strength when I was weak, and gave me the courage to pick myself up again after my most dismal failures. His books were so engaging that I could become completely absorbed in them, so much so that when I finished, I often had new perspective on things.

Who can forget Jennifer Parker’s struggle to become a successful lawyer in a men’s world in Rage of Angels?  Or Tracey Whitney’s determination to avenge her mother’s death in If Tomorrow Comes?   Sidney Sheldon’s characters never gave up, yet even the most ambitious protagonists always showed tenderness and compassion.
But probably the biggest reason that Sidney Sheldon is my hero that he wrote to entertain.  Unlike many authors, he did not put on airs, show off his knowledge of obscure French phrases, or try to impress you with how beautifully he could describe a sunset.  He entertained you.  Period.  He nailed you to the first page and kept you turning them all the way the end of the book, increasing the tension to the point where you’d stay up all night just to know how it all turned out!

This is precisely what I aim to do in my books.  Whether I succeed or not is up to readers to decide.  But it’s not surprising that many people see similarities to my work and Sidney Sheldon's.

For Sidney Sheldon was not only my hero. 

He was my greatest teacher.


  1. Fantastic article. Reading it makes me want to go reread one of his books right now.

  2. I'm with SL on that...I can't remember the last time I read one of this books, but when I did, I couldn't put it down. Great article, Mike

  3. I loved reading Sidney Sheldon. I think I read Rage of Angels in one night.

  4. I too am inspired to get my hands on a Sidney Sheldon book.

  5. Great tribute! We couldn't agree more about how unpretentious Sidney Sheldon's books are - he was an entertainer first and last.

    Our online book club is reading TELL ME YOUR DREAMS this month.

  6. Great article! I'm now going off to dig out a couple of his books, which I know are there somewhere, and read them again.

  7. Fab article. I'm a huge Sidney Sheldon fan and I think I have every one of his books. I always loved the way his stories grabbed you from the very first page and took you on an incredible journey that you never wanted to end.

    Out of curiosity, do you have a favourite?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Carlie. I'd have to say my favorite is If Tomorrow Comes, though Master of the Game is a close 2nd. I own all Sheldon's books and have read all at least twice. Which is your favourite?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. the best laid plans it is the master of genre everyone suspects president Russel as a murderer but at final it reveals that Peter Treger is a guilty

  8. I loved Sidney Sheldon and I have not read his books in years sooooo maybe I should start and read them all over again. I still have every one of them on my shelf. Thanks you for reminding me just how great he was.

  9. i think doomsday conspiracy and stranger in the mirror are so remarkable

  10. Great article...I agree with you that Sidney Sheldon was not only a great author but a great teacher as well...I grew up reading his books and a lot of my childhood memories are associated with his books...I've written a tribute to him featuring the 10 Best Sidney Sheldon books

  11. I like "The Other Side of Midnight" and "Are You Afraid of the Dark".
    Sidney Sheldon is like the guy equivalent of Danielle Steele.

    He has provided inspiration for some of my own ideas, including:
    "The Longest Season"
    "The Next Day's Fortunes"
    "The Wild Winds of Love"

    I do teen/young adult fiction, sci-fi and adventure, and suspense and drama thrillers.

  12. What a beautifully written tribute.

  13. I loved his books too, especielly "if tomorrow comes", which was the first one I read. But I appreciated them all, he had a unique way of creating unforgettable novels. And reading them inspired me to write.

  14. OMG It's so great reading your post about Sidney Sheldon. I just read book one of the Lust, Money and Murder series and as I started reading the prologue the first thing I said was it felt as though I was reading a Sidney Sheldon book. Can definitely tell he inspired you and influenced your writing He's my favourite author and the only author who I've read all his books. Can't wait to finish reading the other books in your series..Just AWESOME!!!

  15. Thanks, Mike. Sidney Sheldon was one of my favorites, too.

  16. I have a whole collection of his books in hardback. He was the best writer, and I continue to brag about his books. Great article Mike.