|Beatrix Potter pillows (with my kitty)|
Of course. Rowling fascinated me with her world, stories, and characters and made me want more books like hers. I was working in a library when book six of the Harry Potter series came out, and with all the frenzy around it, I decided to see what the fuss was over. I had a month off from school that August and planned to read all six books during the break. I bought them two at a time, and it wasn't fast enough.
The first time I finished reading Ruby's Bone Gap, I immediately flipped to the beginning and started over again. A year later, I am still processing it, and I hope to one day be able to write about why it means so much to me. For now, all I can say is this beautifully written magical realism story gave me hope and tapped into a well of thoughts and feelings in me that I am still working to express more fully in my writing. Sometimes when something lights a fire in me, it takes me a while to gather the pieces and figure out what it is I'm trying to respond with. I still haven't quite gotten there with this book.
With her novel The Magician's Elephant, DiCamillo said something I think I have always wanted to say and didn't know how to. Now I have a copy of this book to remind me of its message anytime I want to hear it. Writers like DiCamillo remind me there are people in the world doing exactly what they should be doing with their lives, and that is inspiring on its own. She makes me want to be a better writer.
In fact, all of these authors make me want to be a better writer. The best kind of writing happens when you feel alive, like you're dying to say something and don't necessarily know quite what. You just have to figure it out, like arranging puzzle pieces until you find the right combination of words or metaphors or sometimes sounds until your message comes across. The one you've been trying to say, or maybe didn't even know you wanted to say. Writing is like being thirsty, or like having an itch on a nerve that's hard to place. It's like that for me anyway, and these authors have all made me respond in some form. They've stirred something that eventually led me to write--maybe days, months, or years later. Their work is the reason I fell in love with books and keep falling in love with books, especially children's and young adult literature. Writing is my way of figuring out what it is deep inside me that I can't easily unlock but feel a desperate need to. Just as pain is our bodies' way of telling us something is wrong, our drive to write is our hearts' way of telling us we have something to say that we haven't expressed, or that we've maybe even buried. We all have this to contribute, and these authors have helped me uncover that drive in myself. There are many others I'm sure I am not even thinking of right now, but these are some that have stayed with me. I recommend them!
What authors have influenced or continue to influence you in your writing?
The Meaning of Sisterhood: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show1054834.Meaning_of_Sisterhood
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom: http://www.amazon.com/Heros-Guide-Saving-Your-Kingdom/dp/0062117459