So one of my tasks for my Creative Writing course is to think about my own early reading history and what books impacted on me and why.
For me there are some very clear milestones in my reading as I grew up. Although I can’t remember my earliest years reading I know that I have always been an avid and prolific reader – dubbed “Betty Bookworm” by family members. Every Saturday meant a trip into town to visit the library and I would come home with a stack of 7 or 8 books which would be devoured during the week.
But the books that completely grabbed me and still haven’t let go 17 years later were, of course, the Harry Potter series. I was 7 when I read the Philosopher’s Stone and from that moment Harry, Ron & Hermione were an immovable part of my childhood. Hermione became something of an idol to me and Hogwarts was the place I dreamed of going even after I turned 11 and no letter arrived *wistful sigh*. There is just an incredible power to those books that makes me feel so much and wish I could create something on a par with J.K. Rowling’s world.
The next milestone in my reading came when I was 14 and I discovered an author called Tamora Pierce. I read her book Wild Magic in 2004 and I instantly fell in love with her world and all the vivid characters that inhabited it. Within a year I had bought practically everything that Tammy currently had published and raced through them all (some subterfuge was even involved). Her heroines were the kind of girls I aspired to be; brave, loyal, strong, funny in their own ways, determined to get where they wanted despite the expectations of those around them. Tammy’s books were the kind of fantasy *I* wanted to write where you got so invested in the characters that you would happily read 12 other books to get the occasional glimpse of them.
This is running long of the supposed word count of 300 but my reading from my childhood and teenage years have been the integral influence on my desire to write even if it has taken me until my mid-twenties to actually put my ideas to paper and pixel. I have a slightly insane daydream where in some potentially distant future when I finish my fantasy novel and by some miracle it gets published, that Tamora Pierce might read it and review it. Were that to happen I would possibly drop dead from ecstasy with tears of joy streaming down my face and my last words being “Tammy read my book! asdfghjkl!” (or however the incoherent noise of me dying would be transcribed)
But that’s just me and my odd daydreams *looks awkward*