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I'm sure this has come up before, but it's been a while. I found myself thinking again today about which authors (and books) inspired me to write. I'm not talking about non fiction or craft books but rather novels (or MG, PB, etc) which made you think, "Oh, I want to write like this!" Also, which authors or books do you see influences from in your own writing?

I'll start:

1. Madeleine L'Engle -- I love her prose and her deep characterizations. I wanted to meet her characters, and I think realizing that made me also want to write characters that others would want to meet, as well. My favorite book by her, A Ring of Endless Light, also inspired my love of poetry (I first read this when I was 10-ish?).

2. Tamora Pierce -- anyone who can create a world that's so real, so complex and exciting ... well, my first attempt at a novel was solely because of Tamora Pierce, and I wrote only fantasy for about 3 years simply based on my love of Tortall and my desire to create such a powerful and compelling world.

3. Mary Stewart -- to me, she's the first (and classic) romantic suspense writer. I've actually written a YA manuscript based on Wildfire at Midnight, and I've planned (in my head only, LOL) two others based on This Rough Magic and Touch Not the Cat.

How about you? :)
#1 - March 27, 2021, 11:49 AM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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Great topic, Robin. I love Madeleine L'Engle but didn't discover her until I became a mother myself. It's true for most of American children's literature. I grew up on Indian and British authors. When I was 12, I read Adventures in Two Worlds by AJ Cronin, a doctor-turned-writer, and I knew this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life--be a doctor and then when I become a grandmother, to write. I had recently lost my faith so being a doctor-nun was out of the question. But I became a scientist instead and when I was a post-doc at Purdue, I read Rohinton MIstry's A Fine Balance, and so many memories welled up I started writing in an old biochem notebook. I even bought Bird by Bird. And the seed was planted. When we were moving from IN to WA, I found out I was pregnant, so I canceled all my interviews and became a stay-at-home mom. When my 2nd baby was on the way, I took a writing class for children and loved it. Became a writer-mama. I love this writing life with my family.

This is my biography in books that I wrote for my ICL class: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-biography-in-books.html
#2 - March 27, 2021, 03:59 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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V, I loved your letter! :) You've had such a fascinating life, and I love the role books/authors have played. Thank you for sharing!
#3 - March 27, 2021, 08:37 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

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I started making up characters when I was 3. I believe I was married to Batman but not Bruce Wayne. (This would be Adam West on TV.) I guess my three year old self didn't quite get they were the same person or liked one more than the others. My mother encouraged my imagination. I have a clear memory of this though not her actual words. (My memory is visual.) I never stopped making up characters and adding them to TV shows.

I'm certain I learned to write dialog from Soap Operas. I did jigsaw puzzles while watching TV though my teens. The dialog told me when I'd better look up. I suspect I learned everything else from MASH. It aired twice a day in syndication where I lived, and I watched the new episodes.

This is not to suggest I didn't read. I can trace my reading life through time: Beatrix Potter (little library books), Carolyn Haywood, Franklin W. Dixon (at home; in school it was Bobsey Twins), Judy Blume, Choose Your Own Adventures, and more (through elementary school). In middle school, I read Phyllis A Whitney. In high school, Sweet Valley High and whatever we had to read for class of course. I wrote poetry through middle and high schools. In college, I took a creative writing class. As an adult, it occurred to me a story I had written for class could be a middle grade novel. So I started expanding it. But I can't pinpoint influences beyond this. I simply decided to write down stories I was telling myself anyway.
#4 - March 27, 2021, 09:02 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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I simply decided to write down stories I was telling myself anyway.
This is definitely how I did it, as well, Debbie. But my inspiration (for the stories) often came from books I was reading at the time. I would insert myself into their world and imagine how it would go from there. ;) I did that most often with Norma Johnston's books (especially her Civil War duology). So cool to hear I wasn't the only one! :)
#5 - March 28, 2021, 02:29 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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Thank you for reading, Robin. Books have shaped me, so I want to make a difference too.

Debbie, it's so cute you were making up stories when you were 3 and that you remember it! My continuous memory doesn't begin until age 4-5 and making up stories is one of them. My sister too. We had such fun growing up together, making up stories, usually of the people we saw on the bus or walking down the street.
#6 - March 28, 2021, 05:50 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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I left Beverley Cleary off my list. I couldn't think o her name yesterday, but I read the whole line of her books in the library right after Carolyn Haywood. Oddly, I liked Henry Huggins more than Ramona. I felt like she stole his series. I saw that Beverley passed away. Such a loss to the world of children's literature and the world in general.
#7 - March 28, 2021, 06:07 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Probably like most of us here, I was a voracious reader as a kid. But I didn't have a clue about becoming a writer until I was much older. I thought all writers were men.  Seriously.  I'm so glad children's writers now visit schools and prove that anyone can be a writer.

But one inkling I had about writing was when I was introduced to Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night's Dream in drama class at camp when I was 11. I thought, "Why can't I write that well?" (Seriously. I had no clue about who Shakespeare was...) My next clue was when I decided to be a drama critic instead of an actress. The career counsellor at my university suggested that I just submit my writing anywhere to get my name in print. I didn't want to write for children until I got a fabulous idea that insisted on becoming a middle grade novel.
#8 - March 29, 2021, 01:36 PM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
https://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: https://barbaraetlin.com
Blog: https://owlsquill.blogspot.com

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until I got a fabulous idea that insisted on becoming a middle grade novel.
Awesome! And I love that Shakespeare inspired you, as well. :)
#9 - March 29, 2021, 01:40 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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Barb, that's so funny about Shakespeare. Once when I was on a train I felt movement even though we were not scheduled to leave and it was because the other train was moving. When I told my mother this revelation, she said Einstein already figured it out. Too bad there's nothing new under the sun, no? Just ourselves--unique, unrepeatable.
#10 - March 29, 2021, 02:23 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Hands down it was the late great Beverly Cleary.  I devoured her books as a child.
Later on I read all of Hugh Lofting's Dr. Doolittle books, and in fifth and sixth grade I wrote dozens of anthropomorphic short stories about my basset hound, Herbie.
As a young adult,  I read Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide series because it appealed to my warped sense of humor and my love of sci-fi.
Last of all, it was my mentor, the late great Berniece Rabe, who hosted our writers' group and connected me with Reka Simonsen, who was then at Henry Holt back in the days when they were still taking unagented submissions, which gave birth to my published works, which, not surprisingly, involve a basset hound...and aliens.

These days I'm ghostwriting  to pay the bills, but have several of my own MG novels in various stages of completion.  Will get back to them as soon as I meet these nagging deadlines that I'm behind on.
#11 - March 30, 2021, 04:58 PM
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 05:23 PM by Lunchbox »

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in fifth and sixth grade I wrote dozens of anthropomorphic short stories about my basset hound, Herbie.
That's awesome! (Is he the inspiration for the book in your avatar?)
#12 - March 30, 2021, 06:20 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

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Lunchbox! My kids and I loved your book. So great to see you...it's been years. And :yay for writing paying the bills.
#13 - March 30, 2021, 06:34 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

That's awesome! (Is he the inspiration for the book in your avatar?)

Most definitely.  When I was a kid I was obsessed with UFOs and basset hounds.
#14 - March 31, 2021, 06:18 PM

Lunchbox! My kids and I loved your book. So great to see you...it's been years. And :yay for writing paying the bills.

It's been a bumpy road, with an eight-year detour through the insurance business, but I have enough contracts now that I'll be bailing on my day job in a few weeks.
#15 - March 31, 2021, 06:21 PM

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As a child I loved looking at the pictures in books, sadly I never enjoyed reading. This was back in the day before dyslexia and ADD/ADHD ever existed. Over the years I learned how to adapt. It was painful but it was either that or get left behind.

Fast-forward to when I have children. My son had speech issues and ADHD so talking was an issue and reading was a struggle. I would read lots of various picture books and then one day to try something different when reading Go Dog Go, I took my ukulele and started singing the book while playing. My son loved it.

11 years ago, I posted my first YouTube video of my son dancing while I was singing Go Dog Go. I’ve performed at a few preschools and the kids seemed to love getting to read a book and then sing (and dance) that same book.

Over the years, I knew that the YouTube videos that I created (while my intent was only for educational purposed) were copyright violations. Now I’m just one guy with a full time job and 2 kids, trying to make videos in my “spare time.” I don’t have the time and resources to hire a lawyer to help secure the rights to use the content from publishers. Also from the research I did, it’s very unlikely for the publishers to allow this. The cost for licensing is astronomical.

Like an idiot, I figured I’d give it a try and contact the Sandra Boynton company to see if I could get approval to use their books. Sadly, just as I expected, I got the big NO!

I felt completely defeated with such a heartless corporate rejection from a company that I thought might be willing to collaborate with a small time YouTube creator. It was then I realized that the only way to move forward was to publish my own book.

So here I am, planning to publish a book. Can I compete with Sandra Boynton, Dr. Seuss or others? I doubt it, but what else can I do? It’ll be something that I can say that I accomplished.
#16 - May 04, 2021, 12:41 PM

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Good luck with your own writing -- very cool! :)
#17 - May 04, 2021, 09:03 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

I've recently returned after a long time away & it's good to see releveant & curious questions.
I searched Harold Underdown''s website "The Purple Crayon" & bought his book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books Harold D. Underdown. He mentions it as a reference.
As a writer, it's the best thing I've ever done!

My father is a retired teacher & encouraged reading.

As a writer, it's one of the best things I've done.
You'll find it welcoming & when we can, we'll answer your questions.

Vancemo: I don't think you need to be a great reader. It helps, but stories are a form of communication. A way for a reader to escape & just feel at ease.
I'm not a great with reading either. I am good with expression & chatter. I never shut up when I am here!
#18 - May 07, 2021, 04:44 AM

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I am good with expression & chatter.
I'm thinking this is something that many writers have. :) Glad you're back, Fiona!
#19 - May 07, 2021, 08:24 AM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

I'm thinking this is something that many writers have. :) Glad you're back, Fiona!

Thank you, Andracill. I don't know if you've had experience of distancing yourself from writing for a long length, but it feels weird. I moved house, had a short stay in hospital & newly  diagnosed with a rare illness (at 45 years old!).  It's not life-threatening, but very annoying when it flares up.
#20 - May 07, 2021, 10:51 AM

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