If I were to reflect on all the books I have read, I think I could make a timeline of my life. The first one, I remember bringing home from the library in Junior Kindergarten was I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer. Which I conveniently forgot to take back, hopefully the library police are not on the lookout for me because unfortunately I haven’t seen it in years. There are the ones that I have never forgotten like The Trumpet of the Swan that I read when going through my E.B. White phase in grade 3 and Half Magic by Edward Eager which I also took out of the library in the fifth grade. I am pretty sure I returned that one, since I had to order a copy to read to my children a few years back. Reading Robin McKinley’s Beauty cemented my love of the Beauty and the Beast retelling later that same year.
Like many bibliophiles I come from a long line of readers, some of my best childhood memories are of my Mother reading at bedtime probably long past the age that I actually needed a bedtime story.
At 13, I was in staying at my Grandmother’s when I was in the desperate situation of having NOTHING to read, probably where the phobia originated, thankfully she had a copy of Changes by Danielle Steel that I borrowed. It was at the height of my Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Never Comes and John Jakes’ North and South stage but before my Mother allowed me to read Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. In her place I don’t think I would allow my 12 year old to read a story about love between a teenage girl and a young handsome priest either but that is beside the point. Reading Changes on that long ago summer vacation earmarked the beginning of my love affair with romance novels. I watched the 80’s spectacle type miniseries like Mistral’s Daughter by Judith Krantz and Winds of War by Herman Wouk and read them when I needed to revisit melodrama as overdone and overblown as the hair and makeup back then all the while nursing my own dream of becoming a writer.
Untold Sweet Valley High novels later, with breaks for the V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic series I discovered another series that I would enjoy reading well into adulthood. I discovered The Clan of the Cave Bear series when a classmate did her grade 11 English oral report on The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel. The first novel The Clan of the Cave Bear resonated with me. Not that I feel that I have much in common with a prehistoric medicine woman but the characters of Ayla and Jondalar have remained two of my favorites for over two decades. It was just after reading L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries series after their first publication in the early 90’s that I stumbled upon the book that without which my entire life would have been different.
Coincidentally enough there is a surface resemblance between the actor they have cast as Jamie Fraser in the upcoming television series adaptation of Outlander and my husband, I will file that under “things that make you go hmmm”. I have long credited my love of this novel and the hero therein for my preference for tall red haired men and snapped up the first one I found. My husband laughingly refers to himself as a modern day incarnation with a mullet and a Judas Priest t-shirt. Personally, I shudder at the idea but whatever floats his boat.
Untold number of books later I am married to my “Jamie” with two children, while I may not have put my writing dreams away per se I now see myself more as a facilitator in the writing process than a creator. Or at least I like to think my editorial and brainstorming sessions with my author friend/co-conspirator have some value. Nowadays if I am not actually reading or reviewing I usually can be found at the local community center doing the “Mom” thing, which has evolved into another passion. After getting busted one too many times with my nose in a book when I was supposed to be paying attention to the sport at hand I decided to try my hand at sports photography and have found a new love in my “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” activity. You can view the result of my labour here www.rinkratpics.smugmug.com.
Though I have only mentioned a few of my lives I look forward to those on pages yet to be lived and those to be discussed.