Saturday, 10 December 2011

Which books have influenced your desire to write?

 I was listening to a TED talk by Sarah Kay entitled 'How many lives can you live?' She mentioned in the talk how when she was a child and asked what she was going to be when she grew up her answer would be 'Princess/Ballerina/Astronaut (all said as one word.). Also, as seen in a previous post,  in Keith Gray's podcast he mentioned two books and a film that had influenced and inspired him to become a writer. Both of these very separate incidents seemed to combined together and I started thinking about what my answers would be. Firstly when I was growing up I wanted to be a show jumper/doctor/actress/writer. Two out of four isn't bad.  But then what about the books that influenced and encouraged me when I was a child and fueled this desire to write, below is my very brief list. It could have gone on for an eternity but I thought instead I would just give you a sample:

1. Teddy Robinson Tales  by Joan G Robinson, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and Paddington Bear by Michael Bond. Spot a theme? These were all books that were read to me by my mother, and yes, she did have a thing about Teddy Bears. For me they represent that intimate moment between parent and child when sharing a book. A moment that you should be able to bottle.

2..K.M.Peyton's Fly-by-Night. This was a book I read over and over again as a young girl desperate to own a pony and become a show jumping champion. A few weeks ago I had the chance to go and meet K.M.Peyton but unfortunately I couldn't get there due to ill health. However, I started to re-read Fly-by-Night and it immediately took me back to those impassioned moments when I believed and lived every moment. I was Ruth Hollis. It is the time when I truly understood the power of the book and the chance to escape.

3. As a teenager I read vociferously some of which were real rubbish but one book that does stick out in my mind for all the wrong reasons is D.H. Lawrence's Three Novellas. We were studying it for A level and we had a very new, very young, very good looking male English teacher with the most piercing blue eyes ever and  to whom I would now like to apologise! I loved the stories and it introduced me to the power of the short story and many other things.

All of the above books have influenced and inspired my desire to write. How about you? What did you want to be? And what books to you remember from childhood?

Now a beautiful piece of music and thank you Rachel Rooney for this, I love its gentleness.


  1. Funnily enough my favourite books as a child involved aspiring authors who suffered a lot of rejection before getting published ... the Beverley Gray mysteries (a 1930s serial) by Clair Blank, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Penrod by Booth Tarkington. When I look back, I can see many ways in which I've somehow paralleled my own life to the fiction I adored as a child.

  2. The Orlando books, Little Black Sambo (sorry - but outwitting the tigers was inspriational), Two can Toucan, Edward Gorey, Moomintrolls, The Borrowers, Dr Doolittle, The Little White Horse, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

    So a right mix - or not. All to do with unusual solutions to problems, looking at life sideways and picking an unexpected direction. No fairies, princesses or ponies.

  3. Oh yes Little Women, Little Black Sambo (for the same reason and another one that my mum used to read to me), The Borrowers and The Little White Horse, which I read last summer and simple adored. There are so many it is difficult to pinpoint at times.