I recently published my first mystery, Golden Lies, which has gotten picked up by 18 libraries! I thought would be cool to talk about how I ended up writing what I do.
My earliest memory of reading books was a series of picture books about a horse named Blaze. I think everyone up in horse books sooner or later.
I wandered into the Misty horse series next, with its wonderful covers. That’s one of the things I enjoyed about the children’s books, because I’m very visual. The covers told me something about the book. Adult books seemed rather uninteresting by comparison.
Then I landed on Nancy Drew. The library had this wonderful row of yellow spines, second shelf from the floor. Next to it was the Hardy Boys, with their blue spines. They didn’t do much for me. The Bobbsey Twins was also by the same publishing company, but our library only carried a few.
Clearly, they knew where their audience was! We had more Nancy Drews than Hardy Boys.
I devoured all of them. I loved the covers, which showed Nancy in a bit of danger or mystery. When I checked out a book, I always flipped through and looked at the illustrations. That’s something I miss in books, too.
I loved reading Nancy’s adventures. There wasn’t much for girls in those days. We’d get the horse books, nurse romances, and the girl detective books. Not just Nancy Drew, but also Trixie Beldon and Kim Aldrich.
I even drifted into adult territory, hoping to find books with girls at least in them. I landed on Phyllis Whitney’s gothic mysteries, though I found first-person very strange looking!
But there still wasn’t enough. A friend in fourth grade, Rebekah, was writing a school play. That made me think I could write, too, and I immediately wanted to write a mystery novel. My parents encouraged short stories instead.
I created my own girl detective Sharon McCall, who had the hair I wanted (Peggy Lipton hair. The Mod Squad was in reruns then). She had lots of dogs and cats and solved mysteries. I illustrated the stories sometimes, but my friends also enjoyed reading and illustrating them.
Every opportunity I had, I wrote story after story.
Then I entered the 7th grade and something new came along: Star Trek.
Coming next in Part II…science fiction and fantasy…
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