If you know me at all, you will know that, given the chance, I will always have my nose in a book. The picture above is my proof. I have no idea what the book was called. I only know it was about baby animals, and I only know that because I enlarged the photo and turned the picture upside down so I could read the blurry writing!
This picture, therefore, represents the beginning of my life-long love affair with books, stories and poems, reading everything I could get my hands on.
Having said that, I seriously doubt that this was my first reading experience. I am sure my mother instilled in me my love of books. She will have read bedtime stories to me, as I did to my children. I will have held those books, clumsily turning the pages, probably pretending to read at first, telling the story from the pictures, but gradually, as I was exposed to the wonderful world of words, I became a sponge.
So many authors have enriched my life and shaped my own writing.
I remember as a child loving the stories of Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series, The Wishing Chair, and the Noddy books. As a pre-teen I graduated to Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew and Franklin W Dixon's Hardy Boys mysteries. Then Laura Lee Hope's The Bobbsey Twins, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, before moving on to the more meaty historical time-crossed romances such as those written by Victoria Holt and Anya Setton. I would check these out of the school library and curl up to read after rushing through my homework. Shakespeare is a given and he often was my homework!
I was very close to leaving school when I discovered J.R.R. Tokien's Lord of the Rings, which I read before The Hobbit. I started to read The Silmarillion, but found it hard going. I might revisit it one day.
Then came Sci-Fi / Fantasy, two separate, but sometimes intertwined genres that I simply adore. Here we have Isaac Asimov's Robot series, Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern, David Eddings' Malloreon series, Raymond E Feist's Riftwar Saga, Trudi Canavan's Black Magician and Terry Brooks' Shannara.
I've read Historical novels such as those by Daphne Du Maurier, C.J. Sansom, Michael Crichton (I'd put him there, anyway - he does delve deep) and classic authors - Jane Austen, the Brontes, George Elliot - and there are just too many to name.
I've read action and mystery novels: Agatha Christie, Dick Francis, John Grisham - I know I'm leaving so many out - Jackie Collins and Mills and Boon - Hey! I was young, once!
And of course, there's J.K. Rowling!
Do you get the picture? Where would I be without my books? Where would we as a human race be without our ability to tell stories, fact and fiction?
As a child I started out as I meant to continue - reading, writing and living good stories. I hope I never lose this love of the written word, and I hope that something I write just might inspire someone else to take up the pen, keyboard, or dictaphone and get their stories out there too.