The first books I remember reading myself are The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton. I was lost in her alternative worlds atop the magic faraway tree and I realied that writing had the ability to take you anywhere. Books were my escape during childhood…fantasy worlds which seemed so much more magical than my reality. I tended to always read a few years ahead of my time, and I remember the librarian in primary school doubting my ability to read the books that I was checking out. Actually, I wasn’t so much reading them, but inhaling them. (Wish I could say the same now, but that thing called work seems to suck up so much of my time).
My influences in primary school were the supernatural and science fiction. In 5th grade I wrote and illustrated a story called The Everyday Adventures of Witches which won 2nd prize in the Book Week competition and in 6th grade, I won the competition with a story called ‘The Day the Earth turned Green’.
In high school, I became involved with my local theatre group and the whole dramatic thing influenced me for a while. My first play was called ‘The Robots’, influenced by The Rocky Horror Picture Show and had a body count that rivalled any Shakespearean tragedy. Oh, the power of the pen!
(photo from Shopfront Theatre production of The Robots)
Funny, I’m not sure I’ve killed off a character since. Must have got it all out of my system in one foul hit.
When I rewrote The Robots in my twenties as an adult play ‘Black Widow’, I even spared the life of one of the characters, I figured my new female android needed a mate.
Another influence during my teen years was Charlie Angles and I wrote a very crappy novel which was kind of Charlies Angels go to school to bust a drug operation.
Then everything stopped when I got to Uni. I was frozen for three years but also had not time to be creative with un, travel and working up to 30 hours a week.
After uni, I stopped reading fiction so there was nothing to influence me creatively. Instead I was reading lots of self-help books which were really no help at all.
It wasn’t until a friend said to me (a male friend!): ‘You’ve got to read Bridget Jones’ Diary’ that I even realised that fiction was being published that I could actually relate to. It wasn’t the fantstical romance of millionaires and their personal assistants, or the depressing outlook of literary fiction. It was real life and it was funny. And it was something that I knew I could also write about. I had found my niche.
Now it’s not the latest Marian Keyes or Sophie Kinsella book that influences me. It’s my writing buddies. It’s the ones that are perservering day after day to write, to edit, to get published. Striving for the Holy Grail of Writing. It’s their dedication and pererverance that influences me and keeps me motivated and driving forward. Thanks to all you wonderful ladies!