Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What exactly influences an Author?

Years ago, my little sister and I played opera. So what on earth does that have to do with being a writer? Why, I was into pretend. Of course, I was always the heroine. As I grew, I read. One of my greatest joys was sneaking off to a private corner where I could read. Once a week, we'd go to the public library and during those years I read every Cherry Ames Nurse books. Okay, so right away you can tell I went for romantic stories.

It was about then I began to write, at first poetry. In the eighth grade, one of the local organizations offered a scholarship award, a whole fifty dollars, based on the best essay. I abandoned poetry and turn to writing essays. I won the scholarship and I knew then I would be a writer. The question - what would I write - never entered my mind. I would be a writer. I do have to smile though, remembering my college English professor. Nothing about my writing ability pleased her. In fact, if I remember correctly, she begrudgingly gave me a "C-" for a final class grade.

After college, I began to teach, and met the love of my life, married and began our family. I discovered the romance genre. I found I loved the feel good, happy endings you always got with romances. One day I began a book which became the genesis for my passion to write historical romances. The book was well written - I thought. But I found problems with the book. The heroine's eyes changed color twice. A mother-in-law who played a small part disappeared, never to be heard from again. An important character suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and I remember thinking at the time, where did he come from. I sat in our bedroom, my reading corner and stared at that book. I just knew I could do a better job.

I dragged out the typewriter and announced I was going to write a book. My children thought it was hilarious and my daughter told me, "Oh, yea, Mom. When cows fly."
My husband didn't crack a smile, bless his heart. He built a place in the basement of our home so I had a special place to write. When I started having trouble planning the action, he suggested I plot the story out using a time line. He even supplied the paper. When I sold my first books I came home from school to find a stuffed toy cow, adorned with a set of wings flying around the family room attached to our ceiling fan. It seemed "Cows could fly." I dedicated that first book to my children, telling them to look up.

I've learned a lot over the years but I do believe if I hadn't read so much and didn't love books, I would never have tried to write. And I found you can never learn too much. If you don't continue to grow, to develop, to improve, you can not succeed. Looking at each of my seventeen books I can truthfully say, I have learned, I have grown, I have improved. Am I finished developing, learning? Nope, not a chance. There's still a lot more to learn.


January Bain said...

Allison, what a wonderful blog! Your story evoked thoughts for me of my own journey to this wonderful point in time. Yes, I read a TON growing up, yes I wrote poetry, I also waited until I had another career in place and I too still love to learn!!! In point of fact I read 5 amazing physics book over the Christmas break to help me write Science Fiction with better understand. Doesn't get better than that! Have a great day, best, January

Big Mike said...

I agree. I'm up to 13 stories and when I look back at my first release I'm amazed what I've learned across 6 years, and continue to learn.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Writers are blessed, not just with imaginations but the constant ability to learn more no matter where we find ourseves. I love your "if cows could fly' example.

Everyday an adventure; every day a story.

Linda Rettstatt said...

Great post. I'm still amazed, after seven years and fourteen completed novels, that I'm a published author. And, yet, I could no more stop writing now than I could stop breathing. I thank my paternal grandfather for the hours of reading to me, then with me, then listening to me and making up stories along the way.

Jenny Twist said...

I think you are so right. We all write because we love reading and many of us start because we just KNOW we can do a better job. I have to confess what gave me the confidence to send off my first story to a magazine was reading one they had published which was the most appalling piece of purple prose I've ever read. I thought, "If they'll publish that, they'll publish anything."
I wish I'd kept it.

Rita Bay said...

What you don't mention is how much pleasure you bring to others with your writing. Just downloaded another SONG book and am looking forward to reading it. RB

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