The book that influenced me the most was not even written by an author. It was written by a baseball player. It was Ball Four by Jim Bouton. I was about fifteen years old when I read it. For the first time, I felt, the writer of the book was talking to me, having a conversation with me. I was a reluctant reader and was bored reading “fine literature” in which the author would go on for page after page describing the weather or what somebody’s face looked like, or whatever. Bouton’s book spoke to me, and today when I write, I try to have a similar conversation with the reader. I think because I was a reluctant reader myself, I relate really well to kids like that today. I admit it—my stuff is fluff. But I like to think that it might be good fluff.