I was an only child for six years, so I had imaginary friends. My Barbies never stayed inside. They climbed trees with me or lived in forts, reenacting dramatic scenes. Later I graduated to “producing” skits and recording comic “radio dramas” with my friends. What fun we had with a cassette recorder and that sound effects LP!
My very first “book” was a fan fiction story, but it’s wasn’t Austen. It was an illustrated edition of The Little Mermaid, complete with a Much Better Ending. (I’d read only the traditional version, in which the despairing Mermaid cast herself into the sea and was rescued by angels.) Even as an eight-year-old, I was firmly attached to Happily Ever After. No way was the prince marrying the other princess!
In my teens and beyond, I devoured Victorian novels culled from the library and from my grandmother’s bookshelf. Gothics came next, and then Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and the Regency. I later came to love the British “Queens of Crime” (Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha Christie) and Inkling pals C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
And yet it never occurred to me that I could become a writer myself. It took a friend, Susan Kaye, to prod me to try my hand at writing. In the early days of the Internet we wrote and posted serialized Jane Austen stories. Never did we think that we would one day publish, or that Austen-based novels would become as popular as they are today.
Writing went on to become more than a hobby. Other interests–cross stitch, gardening, even choral singing–have had their day and faded. But not books. Best of all, I get to write the kind of stories I enjoy. And I’ve found that others like them too.
See you tomorrow! If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.