(Or, “You Write What You Read”)
Victor Lindlar is the man attributed with first saying, “You are what you eat” back in 1923. He was referring to nutrition, but the same principle applies to books: You are what you read. Furthermore, you write what you read as well.
Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. I always say if you want to be a writer, be a reader. Read a lot. I attribute whatever writing skill I have to the fact that I’ve always been an avid reader. Although I didn’t know it at the time, all that reading gave me some of the most important tools I would need to become a writer—a large vocabulary and a sense of sentence structure and plot.
All our abilities come from our gracious God. And looking back over my life, I can see how he also sent key people into my life who not only shaped my taste in reading but also influenced the kind of writer I would become.
First off, Mom read to us and made sure there were books in the house. When I was in third grade, she signed me up for the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club through our school. My taste for Sci-Fi stems from some of the books I got through the club. I still have two of them. Parcifal Rides the Time Wave was the first time-travel story I ever read. Another early Sci-fi favorite was My Father’s Dragon, a mystical, mysterious, adventure story. Later I enjoyed H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea among other Sci-Fi classics.
And Mom got me my first Nancy Drew mystery, which started my lifelong love for that genre. I think I read every one that was ever published. I loved them so much that my freshman English teacher had to gently remind me that it was time to move on to other books. She opened my eyes to the wide world of adult mystery novels, starting with Agatha Christy’s Miss Marple stories.
Mr. Brinkley, a friendly neighbor when I was growing up, also shaped my reading habits when he dropped off a large box of books for our family that he no longer wanted. Judging by the box’s contents, Mr. Brinkley mostly favored Louis L’Amour westerns, and those were okay. (I’ll read nearly anything.) But there were also a stack of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines that I snapped up. And at the bottom of the box was Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I loved those books, and they sent me on the trail of gothic romantic mysteries for many years.
During my junior high years a Sunday School teacher put a Grace Livingston Hill Christian novel into my hands, and I read all of those I could find, too. I’m not sure how well her books would stand up to the test of time, but when I read them as a young person my heart thrilled to the message of grace and redemption that she wove into her stories about young women facing unsurmountable difficulties.
But of all the books anyone ever recommended to me, the Bible was and is the most profoundly important one in shaping me into who I am as a writer. I don’t mean for that to sound sanctimonious, because I assure you that I don’t read it nearly as much as I should. But as a little child I was given a Bible and told that it was to be revered as the very Word of God. And I was taught the truth of Timothy 3:16, that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Thus, the Bible became the foundation of my world view and the basis for judging every other book I would ever read. And it became the guiding principle for every novel I would ever write.
Our ability to influence young people is a sobering responsibility. As parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, and neighbors it behooves us to proactively steer our children first toward God’s word and then toward quality literature. And they do need to be steered, not left to the mercies of the weird books clogging their school library shelves.
With my own eclectic reading habits, influenced through the years by the people important in my life, it is no wonder that I write what I do. In my new Rewinding Time Series, Merrideth solves “history mysteries” in which she sees God working in the lives of people who lived long ago. Along the way, she meets interesting men whom she considers in her quest for the perfect romantic hero. The subtitle of the series is “Inspirational Novels of History, Mystery & Romance.” I couldn’t fit in “Sci-Fi” but they also fall under that category because of the time travel.
Now, it is not your typical time-travel tale, because there are no traditional time machines present. Instead, my characters have this amazing software program that allows them to virtually rewind time on their computer. I figured virtual time travel would be so much nicer for them than physically going back to a time when people only bathed once a month and deodorants hadn’t been invented yet. And safer for the world, too. I didn’t want to mess up the whole space-time continuum thingy. (You’re welcome.) Besides, I don’t know how flux capacitors work.
I hope you’ll try my books. And by the way, Time and Again, the first book in my original trilogy is perma-free on Kindle. Why not check it out and see what you think?
The Rewinding Time Series occurs fifteen years after the Time and Again trilogy.
Inspirational Novels of History, Mystery & Romance
How Sweet the Sound is coming soon! Read a complete description of it here.
Keywords for the books I write are: historical romance, Christian fiction, time-travel, inspirational sci-fi, mysteryIt would be so nice of you to share!