Versatile British novelist William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) created tales of suspense and irony. With over 20 novels, 25 plays, and 100 short stories, he celebrated the best in storytelling and creativity.
"Imagination grows by exercise," he said. "Contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young."
Orphaned at age 10, Maugham was a shy child who spoke with a stutter and used his lonely childhood experiences to create stories with first-person narration. With precision, he wrote his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, during his final year in medical school.
Maugham was known for his clear, clean writing style. George Orwell called Maugham his biggest influence and said he"admired (Maugham) immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills."
"To write simply is as difficult as to be good," Maugham said. "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
His famous works included the autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage (1915) and artist Paul Gauguin's story in Moon and Sixpence (1919). Classics Cakes and Ale (1930) and The Razor's Edge (1944) were best sellers during Maugham's lifetime.
Once a British spy in Russia, he volunteered as an ambulance driver during World War I. Maugham traveled extensively to further develop his craft, listening to nuances and studied strangers.
"The ideas for stories that thronged my brain would not let me rest 'til I had got rid of them by writing them," he said.
Always expect the best.