My foray into writing fiction came after reading Harry Potter. You can laugh at that if you want, but not only did those books transform reluctant young readers like me into avid readers, they also inspired us to become writers. I think I was about ten or eleven years old when I wrote my first story, a fantasy piece about a made-up queen of Atlantis (or maybe that was her name?), and it was about that many typed pages, too, so not a bad accomplishment for an amateur 😉
When I say I used to be a reluctant reader, that’s putting it mildly. I remember fighting my mom tooth and nail every evening after school with reading practice (poor mom). And I HATED the sight of her homemade flashcards. Although I seem to remember enjoying getting shiny metallic stickers when I did well, the whole exercise was boring and took FOREVER to get through. I can only imagine how miserable the whole ordeal must have been for my mom.
The turning point came on a Thanksgiving road trip to see out-of-state family. My mom brought along audio-book cassette tapes of Prisoner of Azkaban that she’d checked out from the library. The whole family was immediately hooked. It didn’t matter that she accidentally picked the third book in the series. I wanted more.
It didn’t happen right away, but when school let out for the summer, I started reading Sorcerer’s Stone on my own. It was slow going the entire time, and I had to frequently ask my mom for help, but I couldn’t set the book down. My mom would have to pry it out of my fingers at bedtime, and even so I’d still sneak it under my covers with a flashlight. Harry Potter made it into most of my childhood games of pretend, and I even hand stitched a J.K. Rowling sock puppet-doll for an English class presentation.
Reading and finding books I liked came much more easily to me after that, and I wrote my own stories, usually about witches, ghosts, magical horses and elves. And I loved it. That love of fantasy writing and storytelling has stuck with me ever since. It’s my favorite genre to read. And to be honest, it’s the only one I write.
But what about you? What book(s) got you into reading/writing?