Undoubtedly, when introduced to a new circle the topic of conversation approaches what I “do” for a living. I live. I breathe. Next question. In all seriousness, I am a writer. Cue the eyebrow raise. There are generally two kinds of people: one feigns interest and possibly inquires the details of my career. The other looks at me as if my hair is on fire and changes the topic. Case in point: last week I performed my music as I usually do. The sound guy (who by the way is a total sweetheart) announced that I am an author. As I exited the stage a gentleman approached me. Straight away he asked my age (a common question, really) and then proceeded to ask who is my favorite writer of all time. I was given choices such as the “greats.” My response was puffed cheeks and pursed lips. It’s difficult to decide on a favorite author who has influenced me and honestly, my selections are never what the literary professors, such as this gentleman, expect.
The late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is probably one of the most influential writers to me. I am a poet as well as a novelist. Her poems allow me to not only feel but give me pause. Those pauses create moments full of possibility. The same goes for Jewel‘s poetry. Some of my favorite works are Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson. I treasure a book verses an author. I do enjoy Shakespeare (Sonnet 116 is beloved). Karen Kingsbury is an inspiration both professionally and personally. Tracie Peterson is another favorite author. Veronica Roth, Paul Pilkington, Lori Wick, Meg Cabot, Suzanne Collins, Nancy Straight, and especially Jamie Magee are writers I admire. Patrick Taylor is a new favorite of mine. His stories of the Irish countryside invoke strong memories. I have yet to read a Jane Austen novel that I disliked and I often quote her works. Ironically enough, what I read is often different from what I write. I love plot lines involving time and time travel. I’ve yet to write something along those lines. Ruth Ann Nordin‘s Native American novels are inspirational but I don’t write Native American fiction. And, true to my roots however cliche it may be, I thoroughly enjoy Nicholas Spark‘s Southern charm.
So, to answer who my greatest writing inspiration is I would have to say life. I savor novels themselves and not necessarily particular authors and my imagination is often my truest inspiration. Now please, stop asking me.