The Books that Made Me

Over time, much of what we read can’t help but impact our writing skills

Reading has been a big part of my life since I was able to do it. I don’t remember the exact age, but I remember the book.

The first book I read by myself

A Little Golden Book called Where’s Goldie was it for me. I could read it all by myself and I let everyone know it. I read it several times a day, day after day. I still have it, back cover and maybe the last page are missing. I read it to my little girl when the time came. It’s a special book and I hold it dear.

Now, it wasn’t much of a mind bender or a book that got you to think, but it did start that spark of wondering what other books were out there and what other adventure could I find?

Once I started school and was able to check out books from the library, I checked out the same book everytime. It was a book about kittens called Kittens Are Like That. Every library trip I’d check that book out until someone told me I couldn’t anymore. The absolute kicker of that story is my daughter brought the book home from the library last year and I laughed and cried at the same time.

Let’s fast forward a little to works that actual formed me as a writer. A lot of things have inspired my writings, but some books in particular left a large mark.

The Baby Sitters Club Series

Anyone who knows me personally knows I’ve had a decades long obsession with The BSC. I don’t remember which book got me first, but I do remember falling in love and reading as many of them as I possibly could. I’d save my allowance and buy nothing but the latest books. My Nana would spend summers up north and she loved going to flea markets and yard sales, so every year I’d make her a list of the books I needed. I’d wait on pins and needles for her to come home in the fall and see what books she brought for me.

Once I got a job – big goal alert – I had to own the entire series. I scoared Ebay for months and eventually bought every book in The BSC cataloge. And I love them. They are currently shelved in my daughter’s room.

Now why did these books shape who I am as a writer? When I read ( and now when I write) I love imagining myself within the story. As a tween I could easily relate to the baby sitters and imagine being in their world. It was easy and FUN to escape with them to camp at Shadow Lake or try and solve a mystery of a haunted house that had a ghost! It was so easy to jump right in and imagine the Baby Sitters Club as your friends. I think that has carried on with my into my writing; I want my readers to be able to relate and jump into the life of the character and play along.

The BSC books that had a little mystery to them were always some of my favorites and I’d read them over and over again. However, my favorite Baby Sitters Club book is MaryAnne and the Memory Garden. This book knocked me on my thirteen year old butt. The book deals with the Club and the sudden loss of a classmate in a car crash. Now, I’m not going to lie. This is partly where my taste for writing car crashes and tragedy comes from. I reread this book over and over again, back to back to back. It fascinated me, the intricate workings of losing someone at a young age – someone your own age! Huge, huge impact on me then and even now.

Jane Eyre

I got my hands on a copy of the classic novel, Jane Eyre, at some point in middle school and lost my mind. Imagine yourself as a thirteen or fourteen year old girl reading about the trials and tribulations of young Jane and how she fought and overcame so much! And, oh, she falls in love with this way older guy and oh (SPOILER ALERT) finds his crazy wife hidden away and locked in the attic? Hell yes! This novel took my mind to all kinds of weird places – maybe places it wasn’t ready to go, but it’s what happened. This will, hands down, forever by my favorite novel.

The back and forth between Jane and Rochester and the push and pull of the dialoge and relationship peaked my interest in the dynamics of a lead relationship. It may not be the best to form a foundation on, but damn it was a good one.

Sandra Brown

As a young twenty something, I worked in our local Dollar Tree store. It was an easy job for a decent amount of money. I was a cashier, then a third key manager for a few months until I got demoted back to a cashier. It wasn’t a particularly hard job, but I enjoyed talking with customers and my coworkers more than the physical aspects of the job.

One coworker was an avid reader and suggested I read a book she had just finished. She said it was right up my alley – a little bit of mystery, some intrigue, a star-crossed, albeit so, so wrong lead relationship. I was in. She handed over a hard back copy of Sandra Brown’s A Kiss Remembered.

I ingested this book in no time flat. It was the first I had ever heard of Sandra Brown and the first book I had ever read with that level of intesity. If you aren’t familar with Sandra Brown, her books tend to be spicy on top of spicy at points. For years I tore into every Sandra Brown book I could get my hands on.

She writes her relationships a little differently than I do, but I like how easily her characters related to each other. Most of the relationships she writes also have a form of a forbidden quality to them, which I love. I haven’t written much like that, but it does factor in to how I formulate the relationships I create.

Kate Morton

Another friend, in another job, my current job, gifted me a Kate Morton novel many years ago. I had never heard of Kate Morton or her work and when I read the book jacket, I thought “Hmm”. This had some mystery and intrigue, but also had historical threads through it and that wasn’t really on my radar at this time. I had been in quite a reading drought at this time in my past – like, I hadn’t read a book in a over a year. I know. Unacceptable.

The book I was gifted was The Lake House. I didn’t read it right away, but once I did, I was hooked. Kate Morton is my current favorite author. I own all her books and I have one left I haven’t read that I’m saving. Reading her work is a totally immersive expierence for me and I savior that. I get completely drawn into the story, the characters, to all that is going on. Her work is the type of book that you put down and you have to take a minute and THINK about where and when you are. Her novel The Forgotten Garden is my #1 for that reason – while reading it, I was in the novel, brushing aside the dust, feeling the excitement of unearthing this forgotten place, piecing together a mystery. Putting the book down was like gasping for air or coming back to reality. I aspire to transport readers like that. I want you to put down my book and not know where the heck you are because you were so wrapped up in this other journey.

Whether you read and write, or just one or the other, books affect the way you move forward. Good stories leave you giddy and excited to start the next. Amazing stories leave lasting marks that you may not even realize.

Interview of Author Brandi MacCurdy

Interview created and conducted by: her 8 year old daughter, Jennifer

Do you like being a cat owner? Why or why not?

I do enjoy being a cat owner. Our cat can be very entertaining, but he can be very messy as well.

 

Would you want to own a different kind of pet?

Lately I’ve been wondering if we should get a dog.

 

If you could own any type of animal in the world what would it be and why?

I’d own a giraffe because they are my spirit animal. One day I hope I get to meet one up close.

 

What is your favorite holiday? Why is it your favorite?

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love the colors, the feel of being spooked.

 

What is your favorite room in your house?

Probably my little office nook.

 

If you could have any career what would it be?

The dream has always been to be a best-selling author.

 

What is your hobby?

I write, I read, I watch YouTube videos. I craft and most of all I plan in my Happy Planner.

 

What is your favorite store?

That’s a three-way tie between Barnes and Noble, Michaels and Home Goods

 

What is your favorite sport?

To watch; Nascar. I don’t participate in sports lol

 

What is your favorite object in your house?

My desk. It was a Christmas gift from when I was a kid. It’s got a lot of amazing memories tied to it.

 

Would you rather eat at home or at a restaurant? If at home, what would you eat? If at a restaurant, where would you go?

At a restaurant, hands down. And I’d go to a good Mexican restaurant.

 

What chore would you do most and what chore would you do least?

I’d say organizing is what I do most. And I do everything else least. I despise dishes, laundry and cooking most of all.

 

Where is your favorite destination?

Absolutely Disney. I also love to be near water, but not necessarily in it. If we’re talking global travel, it’s a dream to visit Australia.

 

If you could draw anything what would you draw?

I cannot draw at all, but if I could I’d like to be able to illustrate children’s books.

 

Would you write with a typewriter or a quill?

Excellent question. I do love a typewriter, but I’ve never written with a quill, so that could be fun.

 

As a child, what was your favorite stuffed animal?

Mr. Brownie Bear. A stuffed teddy bear that my Nana owned and eventually gave to me.

 

What is your favorite board game?

Clue

 

Who was your first crush?

A kid named Jared in either first or third grade.

 

What is your favorite book series?

The Baby Sitters Club and The Joe Grey Mysteries

 

What is your favorite cartoon?

To clarify I’m going with “animation” and that’s Lilo and Stitch

 

Have you ever broken a part of your body? If you have, what did you break?

Technically, I’ve never broken a bone, but I suspect I may have broken a pinky toe once or twice.

 

What is your favorite kind of jewelry?

Bracelets

 

What is your favorite number?

9 or 11

 

What is your favorite letter?

I guess B

 

What is your favorite movie?

Serenity

Local Author Fair

I had the privilege to be apart of our hometown library Local Author Fair on January 21, 2017. It was wonderful to see our community support all of our local authors.

The display created to show off the Destined Series: Destined, Endless, Undeniable and Entirely, was a labor of love and received treasured compliments.

Thank you to all that stopped by and said hello, it was a wonderful experience!

VOTE now!

Vote for my entry in the Lulu.com presented #TheWriteSpace photo contest. This contest supports authors and National Novel Writing Month.

The photo contest asks for entries showcasing the writer’s favorite place to write and why they find it inspirational. My entry is a photo of the hard copy of my latest work because I find inspiration everywhere and it can hit at any time. I have written in waiting rooms and at stop lights. When it strikes, there is nothing like putting pen to paper.

http://wshe.es/0dgu8vJq