It’s another Road Trip Wednesday, and I’m on the road with the good folks of YA Highway. Today’s question:
Who in your life has most inspired your writing?
Well, that’s both easy and a little bit hard. I mean, when I’m writing YA hot and heavy romance I can’t help thinking of the Husband, who I was lucky enough to meet when I was seventeen (all the angst, drama and attraction I’d ever need to reference, wrapped up in my now-one-and-only). And my mother and sister and I always share books, talking about the characters as intently as if they were our dearest friends. And there’s my amazing aunt Liz, known to the literary world as Elizabeth Levy, who has written over 90 children’s books, and who always taught me the power of imagination.
But right now, I’m just starting a new middle grade book, and the inspiration for the story looks an awful lot like this:
Many of my favorite books were written 30, 40, 50, or even longer ago. HALF MAGIC by Edgar Eager, THE FOUR-STORY MISTAKE by Elizabeth Enright, or SOUP by Robert Newton Peck all captured the utter hilarity and nonsense that’s the best part of being a kid. More recently, THE PENDERWICKS series by Jeanne Birdsall covers some of the same ground. I loved all these books, and my kids love all these books.
And here’s the thing. As the mother of Small Daughter and Large Son in the new millennium, it’s amazing how little has changed. There might be an app for every need under the sun, and Small Son might have heard about Xbox Call of Duty at school. But snakes, marshmallows, mud, practical jokes, the first snow of the year, the first crocus of the year, the Empire State Building, helicopters, and dress-up still rule.
So while these particular forms of inspiration (and distraction) have only been on the planet for 9.75 years or so, they certainly inspire me. I want to write books that Large Son quotes out loud, as he does with his favorites. I want to write books that Small Daughter has to put down sometimes because “it’s too sad at this part!” I want to write books that make them laugh out loud.
We’ll see how I do.