What book (or books) from your childhood do you think about most often? That had the most effect on your life?
I think about “Harry Potter” pretty much daily. I write about the latest news in the series for Examiner–and there’s been a lot lately–so I either save links to news and make a mental note to write about something or I creep around social media and fansites to see what’s happening so I can write about it. And of course, it is one of my favorite series. As far as effect, I am now getting paid to write about a series I loved growing up, so it’s affected me financially.
But as far as impact on me as a person, I’d have to say it was early introductions to classic writers and literature. I’ve mentioned before how I read very few traditional children’s books–I learned to read at a young age and loved it, ultimately ending up at a higher reading level for my age in school, so most of what I read was abridged versions of classic literature adapted to be easier to read and understand for kids. I used to get tons of them. I’ve never really thought about it, but having access to that, plus parents who totally enabled me, and being introduced to these stories and writers pretty young probably did shape my taste in literature. I mean, I got introduced to Poe and Dickens that way, and I even now I have a beast of a book that’s Poe’s collected works and I have at least a large chunk of Dickens’ novels. A lot of what I read then I later revisited and re-read, only this time the full versions, and loved even more. And with studies showing that readers tend to be more empathetic and open-minded, I think those things probably started happening when I was pretty young. I mean, I read about so many different people and places and stories, even though they were fictional, that I have a hard time thinking that didn’t somehow leave an impression and shape my views of the world.
And, of course, they impacted me as a writer. Just about as far back as I can remember–with the exception of childhood phases of wanting to be a vet or a teacher or an astronaut–I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even as a kid, I wanted to be as talented and regarded as the writers whose work I was reading. And I’m obviously not on that level, but all that reading has definitely shaped me as a writer.