I didn't have the good fortune of having Harry around when I was growing up in the early 80s. The first book that I remember tearing through from start to finish was a science fiction tale you've probably never heard of called The Tutti Frutti Connection, by Alan Cameron, about kids who go into an ice cream shop and get whisked into a strange future, or alternate world--some weird place where everyone is bald, wears a shiny jumpsuit, and walks on people-movers. I sometimes wonder what happened to Alan Cameron and his wacky imagination.
|Sara Crewe, I love you|
Another author that played an important role in my elementary years was Lloyd Alexander. I tried to read The High King when I was still too young, and it made no sense (also not a good idea to start with the fifth book in a series, but I was already a sucker for the shiny Newberry Medal sticker). When I finally read the Chronicles of Prydain, I loved them--ditto the Westmark Trilogy.
|I totally wanted that cat|
My love of fantasy is what eventually brought me to writing. The stories I wrote back then--two girls on an epic quest with their horses in an alternate world, a girl who discovers she is a mermaid and has a whole mermaid family living in the ocean (leading to an epic underwater quest), two magical girls who must go on an epic quest to recover a magical crystal and save their kingdom (sense a theme here?)--were derivative and unremarkable, and completely enthralling to me at the time. And as much as I enjoy reading good contemporary YA or literary fiction, I still love writing stories where I can build new worlds with my own rules, and use them to tell stories with underlying themes that matter in any world.
What kind of books did you read as a child? Can you think of any authors in particular who influenced your desire to write?