Friday, January 27, 2012

Influence From the Past

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?'


  1. Yes, yes, yes. I was always drawn to adventure stories when I was a kid. Robin Hood, The Count of Monte Cristo, Treasure those stories and that's the kind of stuff I try to put in my novels today.

  2. In other words, you got to satisfy the kid in you!

  3. I loved horse stories, too. King of the Wind was one of my favorites.

  4. Goodness! I had no idea you saw my book shelves!

    I 'read' The Black Stallion before I understood the words by thumbing through the book and making up my own story to fit the pictures.

    The Little House books influenced my childhood along with Flicka and Robert Heinlein.

  5. I still want to ride The Black STallion too! I'm not much of a horse rider, but that book filled me with a hope that I could be, and a longing to ride bareback. I've done that once, and it was fun, but uncomfortable.
    I love thinking through my childhood love of books and stories and seeing how it has influenced my writing. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I read Nancy Drew all the time. Hope you have a great weekend.

  7. Ivy, I read all the Nancy Drew I could borrow from my friends and the Hardy Boys too.
    LG, I read Robin Hood too but I didn't read The Count until recently.
    RachelMary, I also read King of the Wind numerous times.

  8. I still remember
    where those yellow
    hardbacks were on
    the library shelves.

    They were always my
    go to books.

    Thanks for this post.

    Cheers :-)

  9. I loved horses and horse books too. That let me to James Herriot's Vet series. Although I also dove into Tolkein and Christie as well - still love to read all kinds of books!

  10. I read sci fi and action. Lots of mystery. So yeah, I can see the influence in how and what I write today. And yes, I did read Dick and Jane. Sally. Spot. The whole family. I remember them all.

  11. I loved the horse stories - Misty, Black Stallion, and others I found through the book orders at school. I learned to read with my dad's Dick and Jane and still have it, crayon scribbles, water-damaged pages, and all!
    New follower, thanks to A to Z. Looking forward to more posts!