Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Musings: January 26 2014

Don’t know about you, but this has been a very long week. I can’t wait to get to this week’s musings. It’s one which actually brought me to writing and finally stalking our own Lea at the very first MuseItUp Online Writers’ Conference. I drove her crazy with my “Nancy Drew” related questions.

So, you know this favourite of mine was going to make it to a musing sooner or later…

Let's go with a two part question. As I sit here sick as a dog, my childhood Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books are over there on my bookcase. The shelf above you'll find my Louis L'Amour.

What book was your first live? Was it the book which lead you to wanting to write your own...was it a different book?

Marsha R. West author of VERMONT ESCAPE and upcoming TRUTH BE TOLD

Rather than Nancy Drew, I was a fan of the Dana Girls Mysteries. I remember saving my allowance to buy a new one each week. As an only child, I really enjoyed reading about the twins. I remember getting in lots of trouble because I'd forget to do my chores when I was reading. :)

However more than those books, probably Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN influenced me more. I've  read it several times. Before any movie or stage play was made, I had the whole book acted out in my head. I was, of course, Jo in all those scenes. :) Not that I thought about being a writer (though I'd written plays and directed plays for my friends.), but I admired her spunkiness, her bravery. And I loved that she finally got the right man, Prof. Baer. I read all the books in that series, but LITTLE WOMEN is my favorite. I still display 4 small figurines of the those little women that my mother gave me years ago.

My first real love was all of Tolkien. I played sick from school so I could spend the day reading his works. Most people don't know he also translated a good many other stories from old English. Besides the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series, there was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (an Arthurian legend), and then there were The Adventures Of Tom Bombidal. I would curl up with these books, drink hot chocolate and read the whole day.

The first book I fell in love with was Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. The story is inspiring in so many ways, and I still reread it every few years. However, this wasn't the book that inspired me to write. That was Twilight. While reading it, I couldn't help but think, "heck, I could do this!" :)

Pauline (P.M.) Griffin author of THE STAR COMMANDOS series

The first book I truly loved was Andre Norton's STAR RANGERS, followed fast by her TIME TRADERS and THE STARS ARE OURS.  Many other books have followed since, especially THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  (I read that in four days and could quote passages verbatim).  And, yes, Heather, THE SECRET GARDEN was and remains one of my favorites.

Susan A. Royal author of NOT LONG AGO and the upcoming sequel FROM NOW ON

There are so many books. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle, Catseye by Andre Norton, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, The Glory Road by Robert Heinlein, Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson and The Diary of Anne Frank are some I remember off the top of my head. Each one of them transported me to another world until well after I read the last page.

I loved the Anne of Green Gable series when I was young, discovering what Anne was up to with Gilbert Blythe and reading about her many adventures. I don't believe these books led me to writing cozy mysteries, but it might have influenced me to wanting to write a series. Whenever I read a great book that I love, I never want it to end, and a series prolongs the ending.
What started my interest in writing cozy mysteries was M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series. As in her novels, my cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy has an amateur sleuth, a thrilling mystery, and lots of humor. It was published this month by MuseItUp Publishing. In addition to these, I include art and music, multiple murders, and a great deal of pastries in my Kay Driscoll series.

Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks, Coming Soon: THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM

“Boy oh boy,” I moaned.  “She just keeps digging away, doesn’t she?  What book was my first love?  Oh my God . . .”
Anne sighed.  Have I mentioned what a patient woman Anne is?
“It’s like being on the couch once a week,” I continued.  “That’s what it’s like.”
“Not such a bad idea,” Anne muttered.
“Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Ken, why not just try to think back to when you were a kid.  What’s the first book you remember reading.”
“Can I lie down to do this?”
“If you promise not to fall asleep.”
“I can’t promise that,” I said closing my eyes. 
I’m pretty sure I heard another sigh.
“Wait!” I said.  “It’s working.  I’m seeing something.”
“That’s terrific.  What are you seeing?  Hardy Boys?  Robert Louis Stevenson?  Charles Dickens?”
“I’m seeing Huey, Dewey and Louie.”
“The nephews of Donald Duck!  The grand nephews of Scrooge McDuck!  Members of the glorious order of the Junior Woodchucks!  Foilers of every scheme of those nasty Beagle Boys!  I loved comic books!  I read them all the time.”
“This explains a lot,” Anne said.
“You’ve done it again, Anne,” I said, full of admiration.
“I can see that.”
“And it’s given me a great idea.”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
“Let’s do a comic book next!”
Deep sigh.

Mary-Jean Harris author of the upcoming AIZAI THE FORGOTTEN

I've loved reading for a long time, but one of the first books I really loved was a series called the Jewel Kingdom, about princesses in different kingdoms and the magical adventures they went on. I started reading those when I was in grade 2, and always wished that I was the Sapphire Princess. The first book that made me want to write, however, was probably the Runelords by David Farland. It is the first book from a really ingenious epic fantasy series with great characters, beautiful writing, and lots of philosophical aspects to it. When you read it, it’s really like you’re part of the adventure. I found out about it by accident, when a friend of mine dropped off some books for my sister to bring to her school's book bonanza. I went through the books first, and I found the first 4 Runelords books, which had belonged to her brother, and they looked so intriguing and unlike anything I had read before. At the last minute, I kept them, and I've always been glad I did.

I can’t remember a time when I did not make up stories. For a long time fiction and reality blurred. I remember sitting on my grandfather’s knee while he read wonderful stories to me. At school I really, really enjoyed history lessons. I also enjoyed books such as Heidi, The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book and The Wide, Wide World each of which swept me away from suburban life and school uniforms. I read and wrote, wrote and read before reading one of my favourite books These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. At the age of 17 I had not heard of plagiarism and had written my first novel based on the plot and theme of the novel. I read more and more historical fiction and non-fiction and one thing led to another until I became a published historical fiction novelist. However, I confess that I still like the enigmatic Duke of Avon and his Leonie who I still visit from time to time.

Dawn Knox author of the upcoming: DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE

My first encounter with the magic of books was being read to in infants school. The teacher transported us to lands above the 'Magic Faraway Tree' and to a time when Cavaliers and Roundheads clashed in 'The Children of the New Forest'. As soon as I was able to read, I immersed myself in as many books as I could lay hands on.

But my love of reading didn't lead to becoming a writer. Rather, it was frustration with my son at his lack of interest in creative writing homework. I started to give him what I thought was a really interesting first sentence and asked him to finish it, hoping it would fire his imagination.

It didn't.

But I just couldn't help finishing one of the sentences myself and my first long story was born...

Trixie Belden books were my favorites when I was younger.  I actually wrote my first fan fiction based on her books.  I loved this series so much more than Nancy Drew.  I loved the mysteries and how a girl was able to solve the ‘problems’.

Remember…while you’re stopping to smell life’s roses, give yourself over to a little musing as well.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at


Susan Bernhardt said...

Marsha, I had forgotten about little women. That book made a big impact on me as well and I also loved Jo best. Good times!

Susan Bernhardt

Unknown said...

Kim, I loved Trixie Belden, too! My grandmother bought me every single one, often second-hand. It was fun to collect them together.
And I can't wait to read Ken and Anne's comic book. :)

Dawn Knox said...

Hi Marsha and Susan, I loved Little Women too. But was so disappointed in Jo's choice of men! Brilliant book!
Dawn Knox