I believe that many of a writer’s greatest influences come from their childhood, especially those who write fiction. For me it started with my mom reading to me. She read “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” to me–and did a great Gollum voice. I read many books on my own as well and was especially fond of Tamora Pierce’s books when I was young, I remember being excited that girls could be cool too and have adventures.
I spent a lot of time in our woods surrounded by massive big leaf maples that could easily be a part of Middle Earth or some other grand fantasy realm. This was the perfect place to create an active imagination. I played countless imaginary games with my next door neighbors in those woods and later on, when they moved away, I walked the woods alone, with a machete and acted out stories in my head. I remember trying to write a couple of stories when I was 12 or 13, they were total ripoffs of Lord of the Rings and quickly died, though they’re entertaining to read now. I didn’t truly get into writing until I was 15. By then I knew I could no longer play imaginary games. I still tried from time to time, because I hated to let that part of my childhood go, but I’d quickly become bored. I couldn’t do it any longer and I mourned that loss and that’s when I turned to writing. I started a bad fantasy novel about a dutiful street guard, a mischievous thief, and a mysterious elven warrior and her flying tiger and their quest to save the kingdom of Dragoon from a deadly manmade plague. And 40,000 words and a year later I actually finished it. Since then I’ve continued writing pretty regularly. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for five years and written several short stories. But all my writing traces back to my childhood and my mom reading me Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and playing games in the woods. I believe that most writers write because they fell deeply in love with books as a child and they’re not willing to put that world of imagination aside. Maybe we can no longer loose ourselves in imaginary worlds like we could as children, but we can still try through the words we write and the stories we create.