I'm an author currently living and teaching English in Sendai, Japan. I've been here since 2008, and have been told what little Japanese I speak I speak like a camp yakuza.
I grew up in Stamford, Lincolnshire in the UK, and attended university at Royal Holloway, University of London. I graduated first class honours in Media Arts, majoring in screenwriting and writing my dissertation on Japanese history/cinema.
I am not the David Kirk who writes the Little Miss Spider series of children's books, apologies if you've come here looking for them.
In terms of simply inspiring me to pick up a pen and try my hand at writing, probably Terry Pratchett and Bernard Cornwell are the most important two (albeit only to write terrible Discworld / Sharpe knock-offs back in my early teens)
In terms of writers I admire above others, I would say Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, Iain M. Banks, I've just discovered David Foster Wallace...
Here are some things that I like. If you like my book, maybe you'll like them too:
- Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: A podcast about various historical topics, great to listen to on your commute. It's not crushingly in depth - as he often says Carlin is not a historian but rather a fan of history - but covers whichever subject he's chosen in an engaging way. As of this writing he's just finished a five part series talking about the Mongol Empire. You can download/purchase it from the website linked, or you can simply search for it in the itunes store.
- Bad Ass of the Week: 've killed so much time at work reading this site in the past it's unreal. It's a completely over the top site discussing bad asses from history and their bad ass deeds - it used to have a page on Musashi, for example - in a deliberately hyperbolic manner. The early entries are pretty weak, but as it went on the author, Ben Thompson, found his stride and started posting longer, more in depth articles on insane stories from history. My personal favourite might be Voytek, the bear who enlisted in the Polish army in WW2.
- Achewood: This is not for everyone, but it's the funniest thing that I've ever read on the internet. It's a bizarre comic strip ostensibly about talking animals and stuffed toys, but it's not really about those things at all. It's hard to describe, vulgar at times, but it contains some genuinely fantastic writing. Give it a chance and read a bunch of strips, get used to the odd art stye and let the characters develop a bit before you make a judgement (or at least read the Great Outdoor Fight arc)