Sunday, January 31, 2010

Readin' & Writin'

As readers of my own blog know, I’ve been re-reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series over the past few months. When I was younger, I read voraciously in most genres. When I had my first child nineteen years ago, I remember the doctor telling me on his visit the day after her birth, “Enjoy that book you’re reading. It’s the last one you’re going to read for the next ten years.” I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.

In the first years of my children’s lives, I read books like Goodnight Moon and Pat the Bunny, graduating to the Berenstain Bears and Disney books. When my daughter started fourth grade, my mom (a librarian) asked me if I’d heard of a character by the name of “Harry Potter”. I hadn’t. She told me I would soon. She was right, too. My daughter and I read through all seven books together, making JK Rowling’s epic the first books I’d read all the way through since giving birth.

But somewhere in there, I started writing books instead of reading them. I have not one, but two unfinished fantasy novels (one of which I REALLY want to get back to) as well as a historical (based on the letters home from a Union soldier – his is an amazing story I’d love to find a home for someday); these novels sit in my computer files just biding their time. Writing them gave me the same thrill I’d get when I’d open a book for the first time – the words filling my head with faraway places and strange sounding names. I got hooked.

My children are older now; my daughter’s in college and my son graduates high school this year. They don’t want mom to read to them anymore, and aren’t really interested in the books I do manage to find time for. Neither, to my knowledge, have ever read any of my books. They were off-limits till they turned eighteen and my daughter has since informed me that, while she’s very proud of me and she likes erotic romance, she just can’t bring herself to read mine because she doesn’t want to think her mother knows about such things!

I started out talking about the Outlander series and got side-tracked, I see. The point I’d intended to make was how wonderfully rich her series is and how I hope re-reading it has influenced me in a positive way. It certainly has gotten me re-reading my current work in progress (tentatively titled Services Rendered) with an eye toward adding depth and description.

So what about you-all? For the writers here, what books have influenced your own writing style? For the readers, what kinds of styles do you gravitate towards?


Tielle St. Clare said...

I don't know about books that have influenced my writing but I'm also going back and re-reading books. I've recently picked up (from my keeper shelves) a couple of old Amanda Quick books. Even though I remember the stories, I love visiting the characters once again. Good fun! And congrats on being able to read again!

Cait Miller said...

Anything I'm reading at the time has a tendency to influence my writing but I inherited my love of torturing my heroes (sometimes literally) from Dick Francis whom I've been reading since I was about 10.