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The book that made you want to become a writer...

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Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine.
#61 - March 23, 2008, 06:42 PM


I generally credit Roald Dahl for inspiring me when I was a little kid (I loved "Matilda" and "James and the Giant Peach"!), but I think it was after I read "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien that I realized that the written word had a lot of power, and that writing really was a craft. 
#62 - March 23, 2008, 07:54 PM


Not original, but it was all about Judy Blume for me growing up. Then Cleary, Danziger, and Fitzhugh. Betty Smith's A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN had a tremendous impact on me too. I probably knew I wanted to write humor when I first read THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK. That's the first book that made me laugh out loud. Now my kids laugh when I read it to them. I knew I wanted to write YA always, always, always. 
#63 - March 23, 2008, 08:05 PM

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Oh, Oh, Oh -- THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK -- I LOVE that book! Anytime anyone I know has a baby, I buy them a copy! No matter how many times you read it, the ending is always a surprise  :dr

I can relate to A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN as well. I must have read that book five or six times when I was in Junior High.
#64 - March 24, 2008, 05:34 AM


In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall is one of them.
#65 - March 25, 2008, 12:01 PM

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.   :love
#66 - March 26, 2008, 12:46 PM


Probably NO FLYING IN THE HOUSE, by Betty Brock.

It's my all-time childhood favorite. I wanted to write books that would give that much pleasure.


#67 - March 26, 2008, 01:42 PM


For me I think it's authors more than a particular book or two that inspired me to want to write.
As a kid, it was L. Frank Baum and the Oz books
Later it was Jack London
In high school it was anything by Stienbeck and Herman Hesse.

But there are two books that stand out in my mind as totally inspiring:
Islandia by Austin Tappen Wright and the Lord of the Ring trilogy.
#68 - March 29, 2008, 03:37 AM

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

Although my copy was long gone, I was "dumpster diving" in the book bin at the Goodwill and found it, with the original artwork.  I was in Heaven.

Another one is Gone With The Wind.  Few people know that Scarlett had more than one child. I re-wrote the ending for a Language Arts Project.  Even though the whole book was from Scarlett's POV, I re-wrote it from Rhett's.  I think I'd do it differently now.
#69 - March 29, 2008, 04:58 AM

Greatc topic!  Thought I'd join and add my 2 cents: of course, I'm repeating some!

These are most of the books and authors I read between ages 8 and 16 that really, really influenced me to want to write:

The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace

The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe

Nancy Drew books

Virtually anything by Judy Blume, but specifically Are you there God? It's me, Margaret and Deenie

ALL the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary

Sunshine by Norma Klein (heart-wrenching, compelling)

Rainbow Jordan by Alice Childress, also by her: A hero ain't nothin' but a sandwich

Edith Jackson by Rosa Guy  (one of the very few african-american teen novels written during the late '70s, early 80s, along with Ms. Childress' titles above--great role models for my writing dreams)

The cat ate my gymsuit by Paula Danziger (and also There's a bat in bunk five)

Little women by L.M. Alcott

Most titles by Lois Duncan (Down a dark hall and Summer of fear, especially)

Jacob have I loved by Katherine Paterson

Flowers in the attic series by V.C. Andrews (and also the Heaven and Rain series)

It and The tommyknockers by Stephen King, and a few others

These are all I can think of for now, but I'm sure I could include a few more.

Oh yes, Pippi Longstocking.


#70 - March 31, 2008, 02:04 PM



Great topic!

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd!
#71 - April 04, 2008, 10:10 AM

Kathy Q.

Anne of Green Gables and Harriet the Spy, especially Harriet the Spy. She's the person who made me start watching people and noticing things about them, although at the time I learned from her not to write them down. I liked Harriet so much I read my library's copy almost to tatters. (I still like tomato sandwiches and long hot baths.)

Kathy Q.
#72 - April 08, 2008, 06:21 PM


Anything I read by the Brontes made me wonder why anyone in the world spent their time doing anything EXCEPT writing.
#73 - April 09, 2008, 09:04 AM

Lord of the Rings and Goodbye Columbus
#74 - April 09, 2008, 09:09 AM
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

I've already chimed in, but I want to add, Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. (compiled by Leonard Marcus) She did more for the evolution of children's book publishing than anyone I can think of. The collection of letters/corresponances from Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maurice Sendak, E.B. White and countless others inspire me every time I reread the book. It's priceless!  :bow
#75 - April 09, 2008, 09:35 AM


I decided I wanted to write after finishing Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. Thus ensued a few years of trying to write politically-influential, "serious" type stuff and spending a lot of time in coffee shops pretending to be avant garde. Then I revisited The Westing Game during my pregnancy as a comfort read, and suddenly it all made sense. I put fingers to keyboard to write my YA when my twins were about two months old.
#76 - April 12, 2008, 09:59 AM

Well, tons of books made me sure of becoming a writer. But the one that started it, the very first influence, was probably Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, which I read when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.
#77 - April 12, 2008, 10:07 AM
YA reader/writer, ghostwriter, librarian.
Blueboard member since 2008


I love this topic.

THE OUTSIDERS, by S.E. Hinton.  That book was my best friend for years.  I used to carry it around with me and reread it every six months or so.  It made me feel so less lonely in the world...although I loved reading and had lots of favorite books, that one has always been my #1 inspiration. 
#78 - April 18, 2008, 02:48 PM


Time for a commercial break. (aka something other than a book inspired me to become a writer.)

My daughter inspired me to be a writer.  I saw her put her 2 year old legs into my husbands cowboy boots and mutter her version of YEEHAW.  That sent me to the :oncomputer.  Now I look at the world through a different pair of eyes...always looking for the next inspiration.  Of course books influence my writing now, but it wasn't a book that got me started. 

Now, back to the show...
#79 - April 18, 2008, 03:30 PM


The Diamond in the Window, National Velvet, the Black Stallion series and, oddly enough, Jaws. :ahh
#80 - April 19, 2008, 03:40 PM

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Jane Yolen's picture books were my inspiration--oh, yes, and Eve Bunting and Jan Brett and Kevin Henkes and...  I just love picture books.
#81 - April 25, 2008, 07:54 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008


Among others, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series.  (And the movie doesn't come even close to doing it justice!)
#82 - April 30, 2008, 06:15 PM

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Sarah Dessen's THAT SUMMER
Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK
Ellen Wittlinger's ZIGZAG

The summer I read those was the summer I decided I wanted to write novels like those.  After getting a couple of angsty coming of ages out of my system, now I'm working on some contemp and historical slight paranormals, but I still LOVE those authors and all their books.
#83 - April 30, 2008, 06:40 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now

There was no one book that made me want to be a writer - an English teacher did that for me.  She made us write a poem as an assignment, and it terrified me.  I made myself sit down and write, and found that I really enjoyed it.  Then I wrote poems for the next twelve years, never tried to get published, and never ventured into anything new. 

It was Harry Potter that made me want to write for kids, and I feel like this was my true calling as a writer.  I can't imagine what my life would have been like without the middle grade and young adult stories flowing from my pen.  Ahhh, such a warm, fuzzy feeling they give me. 

#84 - April 30, 2008, 08:00 PM


To Kill a Mockingbird

Yes. Absolutely. And A TIME TO KILL by John Grisham. I'd never wept over fictional characters. Those two made me cry like a baby.
#85 - May 04, 2008, 09:19 AM

Lynda B.

'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury

I bought a new copy and have read the first chapter or so to my son, but the language was just a little too metaphorical for him and got in the way of his enjoyment. Maybe we'll try again this summer or next year.

Also, Mister Rogers was the first to show me that anyone can write. After watching him write a book about finding a lost blanket, I had to do it for myself and then come up with another one of my own about feeding the cat.

My grandmother wrote and researched a book on our family genealogy and though it was not a work of fiction, it was a great example to me. We still get requests for it!

#86 - May 04, 2008, 11:40 AM

"HOLLOW KINGDOM"  by Claire B. Dunkle.
My favorite movie is and will forever be "THE LABYRINTH".  This novel had everything to do with a Goblin King, Goblins, and an early 19th century girl who became the Goblin King's fascination!

"BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE" was another one that helped me create the dream of writing one day.

Last but not least ... "HARRY POTTER"
I would love to have people waiting outside a bookstore at three in the morning just to buy my novel!
#87 - May 04, 2008, 01:40 PM

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There was no one book that made me want to be a writer - an English teacher did that for me. 

Same here.  I don't actually remember when I started to read, but I was reading everything I could read by the age of four.  My favorite book in first grade was Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson and then by four grade I was an avid Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon fan.

But my seventh grade English teacher had us write a story and I was one of three that was picked to read my story to the class.  At that moment I knew I wanted to write.  It has taken years to get to the point where I am actually getting books done, although I have tried earlier in my life.  (gotta love computers! :oncomputer)

#88 - May 04, 2008, 01:56 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

Poems inspired me to write.
I copied this poem out of a book in fourth grade and hung it over my desk. 
"The Fairies" by William Allingham :star2

A little later I got hooked on Grims Fairy Tales.
#89 - May 04, 2008, 04:17 PM
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 04:20 PM by PatEsden »
A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart series #1) coming from Kensington Books, staring March 2016

Books for Young Readers of All Ages :)
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To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.....what a treasure...
#90 - May 06, 2008, 03:57 PM
PB CALVIN'S LAST WORD, Tilbury House 2020
PB LITTLE CALABASH, Island Heritage 2020
and 28 more


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