How Did YOU Grow Up Into What You Are Today?
I don’t know why I’m still surprised, but I frequently get this question from readers: “What were you like as a kid? How did your childhood years influence you to become an author?”
Oddly enough, it’s kind of a tough question for me to answer. But that skinny kid on the left in the top black and white photo? That’s me at the age of nine, with my two sisters to the right. The grown-up in the bottom picture? That’s me, too, but in my 60s. (I cringe to think my hair style hasn’t really changed much. That should tell you something right there.)
Well, that little girl and the older woman are still pretty much the same: imaginative dreamers and persistent storytellers. The first fiction I can remember the little girl writing was something called “The Day the Gravity Left the Earth.” Obviously, I knew little about the full science of gravity, but had learned that it’s what mysteriously keeps us anchored to the earth. Of course, my little girl mind wondered what would happen if it didn’t, and thus my first real story was born. I suppose today it would be called science fiction.
And Then There Was the Jolly Green Giant
I would think about stuff like that when, even younger, I’d push myself around on a little red wagon, pretending it was a car. And yes, I had an imaginary friend who I not so imaginatively pictured kind of like the Green Giant Company’s Jolly Green Giant mascot (only skinnier.) The character was shown on the canned green beans we apparently ate with some regularity. He bounded alongside me when I “drove” my wagon across sidewalks.
More significantly, though? I read a lot of books, including the amazing Nancy Drew series, the Hardy Boys, and the Bobbsey Twins. Those series, of course, were mostly mysteries, which may well explain why I gravitated toward writing the Claudia Hershey Mystery Series as an adult.
And my mother? She raised three girls on her own and didn’t have a lot of money. Even so, for every “A” we got on a report card she’d bring us to a bookstore where my two sisters and I (pictured with me in that photo) could buy a book. Think about that: A book to own forever and ever, not to be returned to a library. I will always love my late mother for that. Always.
All of that is, I believe, the genesis of what turned me into a fiction author. Later came a 17-year career in journalism, lots of freelance work afterwards, and . . . too much more to delve into beyond what I already have on my website bio page.
What about you? How did the child in you influence the adult you grew to be? And what I secretly really want to know? Did you have an imaginary playmate? Come on. Share.