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What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
 
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In my teens I fell in love with Stephen King Books. Salems Lot was always a favorite of mine.
I went through a period in my life that I had something I needed to express and just couldn't find the voice to do it. So I wrote it instead. Before I knew it I had finished a novel.
I talked about what I was writing with my husband Alan. He was such a great sounding board and he had really good advice. Then when I was done I let a good friend of mine Cindy Sturdevant read it.
 


The first thing I *remember* selecting from my local library (parents took me there regularly) was Barbara Leonie Picard's retelling of Homer's The Odyssey. I point to this book as the reason why I seem to be bent for fantasy.

How I began to write? Short answer: Badly. In my teens I wrote and drew my own comics, almost all of which was derivative. I thought at that time I wanted to draw, not write. I'm very visually oriented as a result, and probably focus on imagery in writing as a result.

The first to read what I wrote probably were people in the first class I took in short story writing, a night class my second year in college. The next year I enrolled in a workshop led by poet Gary Gildner. He was very kind, when you consider how awful my prose must have been.
 


My first loves were fantasy and science fiction, but I've written none of that - though I did try to write a sci-fi epic poem the main character of which was my great-grandmother Stella Baird (star singer in enough languages) as the lost sister of the Pleiades. One poem from that remains, and my fiancée has set it for the band we're in.

As to who first read my poems, it was girls I was trying to impress. That didn't work out so well.
 


I grew up in the West Coast of Scotland in an environment where the supernatural was almost commonplace. My grannie certainly had a touch of “the sight”, always knowing when someone in the family was in trouble. There are numerous stories told of family members meeting other, long dead, family in their dreams, and I myself have had more than a few encounters, with dead family, plus meetings with what I can only class as residents of faerie. I have had several precognitive dreams, one of which saved me from a potentially fatal car crash.

I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as “weird shit”. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.

So, there’s that, and the fact that I was grew up with the sixties explosion of popular culture embracing the supernatural and the weird. Hammer horror movies got me young, and led me back to the Universal originals. My early reading somehow all tended to gravitate in similar directions, with DC comics leading me into pulp and to finding Tarzan.

Tarzan is the second novel I remember reading. (The first was Treasure Island, so I was already well on the way to the land of adventure even then.) I quickly read everything of Burroughs I could find. Then I devoured Wells, Verne and Haggard. I moved on to Conan Doyle before I was twelve, and Professor Challenger’s adventures in spiritualism led me, almost directly, to Dennis Wheatley, Algernon Blackwood, and then on to Lovecraft. Then Stephen King came along.

There’s a separate but related thread of a deep love of detective novels running parallel to this, as Conan Doyle also gave me Holmes, then I moved on to Christie, Chandler, Hammett, Ross MacDonald and Ed McBain, reading everything by them I could find.

Mix all that lot together, add a dash of ZULU, a hefty slug of heroic fantasy from Howard, Leiber and Moorcock, a sprinkle of fast moving Scottish thrillers from John Buchan and Alistair MacLean, and a final pinch of piratical swashbuckling. Leave to marinate for fifty years and what do you get?

A psyche with a deep love of the weird in its most basic forms, and the urge to beat the shit out of monsters.

I'm a late starter to the writing life. As a teenager I used to write song lyrics (mostly in unsuccessful attempts to get into girls' pants by singing and playing guitar.) I also wrote a few supernatural short stories around then, but didn't show them to anybody apart from a few friends that didn't understand them.

That was that for a long time. Uni, beer, more women, a job in IT and a marriage that almost immediately turned into a divorce later and I was suddenly in my 30s. The only creative outlet I'd had was as a Dungeon Master playing D&D (I'll get my coat.)

When that fizzled out I found I still had stories in my head that wanted to be told. But I was also a -serious- drinker. I was working long hours then hitting the pub most nights. Booze got in the way of any discipline I needed to write.I got sober in the early '90s. Around 1991 I started to write the stories down and submit them to UK small press mags.

It's been a slow but steady progression from there. I'm now well into double figures in professional short story sales, have two movies under way this year from my scripts, and have hit double figures in novels in the small-press.
 




Enid Blyton filled my childhood reading - was a particular fan of the lesser-known Secret Seven. Also Australian kids' tales - Blinky Bill the koala, The Magic Pudding.

I began to write seriously after my mother died, one of those times when life separates into 'important things' and 'unimportant things'. I had dallied long enough with my vague writerly yearnings; it was time to be serious or forget it.

My classmates at university and then writing classes were the first to read my words. It's a safe place for exposure, if you have a good teacher.
 


I first read books like Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Pooh Bear books. The first to read my writing were teachers. 


I read anything on hand, because I was bored for the most part. I only started paying attention to books when I began reading horror. I started writing by transcribing song lyrics -- I just wanted to know what Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder were mumbling -- and then when the Internet became accessible I realized how many errors I'd made. But I like my error-ridden lyrics better in many cases, so I started writing "new" lyrics on purpose, and that led me into writing poems. Once in a while I would share some writing with friends but I was never really concerned with having an audience. 


1) The books lying around the house - mainly my mother's on First Aid and psychology, and my father's on sound engineering and keeping hens!! Seriously.

The first fiction books I read were from the school library - I don't remember any of their names, but I do remember feeling like I'd been transported to another world, and I wanted lots more of it. When I got a ticket to the grown-ups' library, it was like being given my own goldmine.

2) At school we had to write short stories based on a theme the teacher gave us. We were given a time limit, so I had to learn to write fast.

3) My teachers. It never occurred to me to show my efforts to anybody else.
 


The first book I remember reading was the bible. My Mom always had one in our home. In my early years I wrote on a scrap sheet of paper with crayons and I loved illustrating my own work! I wrote a book about a cat in an early elementary grade; I believe 1st or 2nd. I grew up very poor which actually gifted me with a very active imagination! My parents were the first to read my writings. 


That's a difficult question! I read plenty of textbooks whilst studying medieval history, but that now seems so long ago...
I always enjoyed creative writing at school, and would spend many hours creating comic versions of novels and plays, using friends and teachers in the key roles. Professionally, I wrote because I wanted to express my love of history and the intricacies of the 12th & 13th century financial institutions that - on the surface - may appear remote, inaccessible or even dull, but in reality are a source of endless fascination, as well as holding the answers to many of the key political events and personal decisions that we read about in textbooks.
So I guess I was first read by historians and students, who used my work on the reigns of Henry II, his sons and grandson, to look at the past in a different light.
 


I can't honestly say I remember my first book, there were the obviously the Spot the Dog and such growing up. I do remember the first book of significance I read, I was slow to learn to read, and this was a massive achievement. My dad gave me a copy of Frank Herbert's Dune to read. I did read it too, most of it was over my head I was maybe nine or ten at the time, but I loved it. I've read it every year since.

I've always been a story teller, whether its the artful lie of youth, or telling an actual story I thought up. My imagination has always been there, and for as long as I could remember I've tried to write a story in some form. The very earliest story I tried to write, that I can remember was one about a spaceman, I think it was meant to be me when I grew up, he was flying through space in his ship. There was probably only a couple of dozen words, spread across a whole book of paper.

Of course the first to read what I wrote was my parents, and the rest of my family - I'm fairly sure they were just tolerant, maybe a little proud that a boy that couldn't read very well was still trying to write. Since then, I've quietly been sharing my writing with people online, only really drawing my friends attention to it, but that will change.
 


I honestly do not recall my first book, however my favorite book was carious George as well as Pippy long stockings.. from there many others. From adventures to romance.. 


My reading was similar to everybody else's. Start with The Three Little Pigs, graduate to Judy Blume, Conan, The Destroyer, Faulkner, Tolstoy. It is like wine. Newbies like it sweet, old hands appreciate depth and complexity. This is why I find the record number of Harry Potter readers so reassuring. Many of them will mature into better readers and love books. The future of books, simply based on a generation brought up on Harry Potter, is very good. 


I was reading avidly as a child, so I don't recall a time when I wasn't reading.

I began writing simply out of love of what I was reading - I recall just using it as a mimicking exercise really until I began to form my own ideas and stories - they didn't make a lot of good sense but they were attempts at the imagination in word form nevertheless. I simply loved the exercises in class when they would give you a title or the first line of the story and you had to come up with something. Limitless potential!

One of the first things I wrote was my own version of The Odyssey in class accompanied with illustrations. The first people to read what I wrote were my teachers and parents, therefore.
 


I began reading for enjoyment in elementary school. My favorite book was Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith. In the seventh grade, we had creative writing assignments. I wrote ridiculous stories to make myself laugh. I got back into writing with poetry years later. I received a lot of good feedback when I shared my poems with friends and family, which encouraged me to pursue getting published. 



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