I’ve been asked a lot lately about what made me a writer – so I decided to try to define it.
Learning to read before I started school gave me a voracious appetite for reading books. My mother made sure I had plenty in the house. We went to the library once a week and were members of a book club. Mom used to read to me all the time, snuggled up on the sofa and my love for a good story was born. Favourites as a small child were Famous Five books, Secret Seven and Biggles.
At school, I loved putting my imagination to work on stories and poems. My junior school had a quarterly magazine and I vied to have my material included. I still have some editions in the attic. Maybe I’ll dig them out to show you what I was writing then. I also have the little book of poems that I wrote around the age of twelve.
Teenage years were all about study. I was determined to do well, so my writing was mainly coursework. My love of reading continued, my favourites now being Walter Scott and Alistair MacLean. I penned my first novel at fourteen – it was a swashbuckler, full of pirates, tall ships and swords.
By university, I’d moved on to reading Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen, but I was still writing coursework rather than fiction. My degree was in Business Studies and German.
Work then took over and I can’t remember writing fiction for a while, it was board minutes , letters, reports and training manuals in the main.
When I started my own business, I had to write a lot of marketing materials and was good at getting press releases into local newspapers.
After having my second child, I wasn’t very well and drifted around aimlessly for a while. An acquaintance started a publishing company and she held a short story competition. I only entered to show willing, but I won. The spark was ignited.
I began to study with the Open College of the Arts and obtained a Certificate of Higher Education in Creative Writing. I could have studied further, but the course was taking me into areas I was less interested in and I’d decided by then that I wanted to write romance novels.
I too was brought up on the Famous Five. It’s a shame that Enid Blyton fell out of favour because I’m sure she got thousands (if not millions) of children hooked on books.
I’ll see if I can find one of my stories with treasure, caves, a boat and, of course, a big brother – always wanted one of those!
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I love reading about how authors began writing. I loved Enid Blyton, too – and didn’t she also write the Adventure books? Not sure if I’ve got the right series, but it had 4 children and a parrot called Kiki! I loved those, the Famous Five and also the folk of the Faraway Tree. She always got the imagination going!
Yes, she did! I’d forgotten those. We called our budgie Kiki after the one in the book. Pity she lost favour, because she definitely gave me a passion for reading.
I always love stories about how people became writers :-).