The dear Karina Cooper was recollecting books that she remembered from childhood on Twitter. I remembered how liberating it felt to start picking out my own books. I have always been drawn the to the weird and strange and the not quite normal. Three stood out for me and explain VOLUMES of why I am so very strange and probably write in the genre that I write.
The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende. According to my mother, I read the book before I saw the movie because it was one of her favorites as well. We have this original edition in red and green that is fully illustrated, which is why I picked it up in the first place. With its fantastical elements and evil emissaries of the Nothing, you’d think that would be all the explanation that I need to explain why I write about big evil black monsters with green eyes.
I think not.
But I think what influenced me more is that it is so very meta. It’s about you reading a book about a kid reading a book about another kid whose having an adventure. Hello Inception. That’s probably the reason why my main character is a horror writer and understands that she is will survive this by using her horror movie skills.
The next series that probably explains a lot is the Blossom Culp series by Richard Peck. I only remember three, but I devoured the books about the girl who could see ghosts and would switch bodies with them. I read them over and over and over. God, I wanted to be a telepath after that. I remember trying to enhance my psychic abilities and I’m pretty sure I checked out a book from the library called You are Psychic just to see if I could be Blossom Culp. It didn’t work but it opened up a section of the library that would be very influential in all the other research I’d need to do about werewolves and fairies later on.
My personal favorite and one that I still buy every kid that I know of even now: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. I LOVED these, mostly because they scared the bejebus out of my little brother as I would read them to him late at night.
After thinking about this, I can understand why I write in this particular genre: my brain seems hardwired for it. These are the stories that I went for instead of the Babysitter's Club.
What did you read as a little kid? Are there suspicious trends that you can see?