Good day, young Wonderlings.
Reading has been a huge factor in my life since I was a kid. It not only taught me, but it expanded my mind and gave my imagination new life. As a kid, I always had an active imagination (shoutout to my uncle who ran over my imaginary best friend when I was six; ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY FORGET) and loved to create worlds and kingdoms and force my sister to take part.
Movies helped. Lord of the Rings especially, before I got my hands on the books. But novels — fantasy novels, especially — changed my life. The authors who wrote those novels changed my life. As a teenager, I was lonely. I had friends, but my friends didn’t understand that, sometimes, having my lunch in the library was the biggest gift; they didn’t understand that staying home and rereading Harry Potter was more important to me than going out in the freezing cold night and wondering around the park like it was brand new and hadn’t been there for 2,000 years already.
Recently, I started to think about what I want to be when I grow up. I may be 22 years of age, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I want to be an author, one day, maybe. Work in publishing, definitely. And that got me thinking — who is my influence? Who gave me support when I needed it most, even when they didn’t realize it?
Funnily enough, most of the people I came up with are authors. Authors I have read and loved since I was a teen, and who influence me still today.
1. Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen was and is my go-to contemporary author. I picked up one of her books, Just Listen, when I was fourteen years old and it hit me so hard, made me feel so raw and real that it instantly became a favorite. After finishing Just Listen I went to the library and request every single one of her books and binge-read them over a week. She is a raw, emotional writer, someone who manages to hit every single nerve in one go. She writes about real experiences, things teenage girls experience every day: love, crushing rejection, mental illness, family issues, school. You name it, and she’s just about covered it. I still haven’t read Saint Anything, but I’m going to very soon. One day, I’d love for people to feel things as fiercely as Sarah Dessen made me feel every time I read her books.
2. Sarah J Maas
If you thought Queen Maas wasn’t going to make an appearance in this, you obviously don’t know me very well. Tut-tut. Anyway, as some of you may know, I was Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass before it was ever a published book. It was an unpolished, wonderful novel on Fictionpress at the time, and when she took it down due to getting a publishing contract, it really made me want to be like her one day. Work hard for what I want, and actually achieve it. Sarah has played a huge role in my writing life, and is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. Every single day, she blows me away with her novels, her online presence and the constant kindness she exudes, When I grow up, I’d love to be like Sarah J Maas.
3. J. K. Rowling
Of course I was going to mention Rowling herself. When we moved to the UK, after reading Alice in Wonderland half to death, I went to a bookshop and my dad bought me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. For a year, it sat on my dresser, unread because I was too terrified the language would be too difficult for me to read. I was wrong. When I was home sick with the flu one day, I picked it up, and fell in love with Harry Potter all over again — in an entirely new language. Rowling as a person, as well, is an inspiration every day: the charity work and her constant kindness played a huge factor for me. She was the first adult I looked up to, and to this day I ask myself: WWJD? (What Would Jo Do? Haha, I’m so funny.)
4. J. R. R. Tolkien
Tolkien is a literary beast, and I absolutely adore him and his work. This man not only wrote a world known series, but he invented a whole new world and a language I painstakingly tried to learn as a kid. I kid you not, I sat down with pen and paper and copied the Elvish alphabet word for word. It didn’t work out too well, but I still remember my sister and I reciting The Fellowship of the Ring every time we had a Lord of the Rings marathon weekend. Which was once (or even twice) a month. At one point, we even rewrote Lord of the Rings as a comedic movie, and it was amazing. We were not obsessed at all. I would love to have Tolkien’s mind, to think of so many things and weave literally hundreds of stories into one. Out of all four, writing wise, Tolkien is the person I want to be when I grow up. And if he were still alive, you’d bet your sweet patootie I’d be hammering down his door and begging to watch him work, as the creep I am.
What literary people have been your inspiration? Are you reading/writing kept separate from you everyday life? What/who do you want to be when you grow up?