I loved to read from the first day my first grade teacher gave us those 'Dick and Jane' readers. Our little country school didn't have kindergarten, so we dove right into reading. When our little school added a real library a few years later, I spent every morning before school searching the shelves. I couldn't get enough. Entering high school and discovering a library many times the size of my previous experience, I made a good friend of the kind lady who ran the place. How I envied her job, spending the entire day among all those books.
I read nearly every type of fiction I could get my hands on. My English teacher introduced me to Tolkien but in my early reading career, like many young girls, I read every book I could get my hands on that involved horses. I wanted to ride The Black Stallion or Flicka. I read those books over and over again. But as time passed I started reading books where the main characters were people, the plots more about mysteries or the battle of good versus evil. But I never forgot my love of horses and I find myself entering a few animal characters into my own writing. In my epic fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles, my lead character, Marshal Cage Stone, rides a warhorse named Bayard. There's nothing magical about Bayard but he shares a special connection with his half-elven master. He's a minor character in the books, but he adds another layer to the mystery that is Cage Stone. By having the horse in the story, I get to indulge my childhood love of animal stories but still have my novel be character driven and the plot remain the fantasy mainstay of good versus evil. However, I still want to ride The Black Stallion.
Do your youthful reading habits shape what you write today? What kind of stories were your favorite growing up? Did you read 'Dick and Jane?'