When I was a kid, I had to cross a busy downtown street to walk the two blocks to the public library. Mom would take me across that first street then let me walk the rest of the way to my favorite spot on earth; well, except for the high school gym on Friday night basketball game night.
I guess you’d call me a tomboy. I loved sports; playing and watching. Although, I still had fun cutting out paper dolls with my friend, Cynthia, and playing with her Easy Bake Oven (I was so jealous she had one and I didn’t!)
But, back to the library. I’ll never forget the summer I discovered the sports biographies. A whole set of them! Probably due to my yet-to-be-discovered OCD, I commenced reading them in order – A-Z.
I’ll never forget the thrill of learning all about Hank Aaron. I was a huge fan back then of the Milwaukee Braves outfielder. In 1957, as a 10-year-old, I would sit in front of the TV keeping stats during the Braves games. In a record-breaking year, he hit an 11th inning home run that propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games. Yep, “Hammerin’ Hank” was my idol.
I tore through that series in record time. Patty Berg, Jim Brown, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzales, Byron Nelson, Warren Spahn. Then, the unbelievable happened. I finished Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Finished. Caput. A through Z. There were no more.
I was crushed.
I muddled along reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and then got interested in historical fiction. Then I got bored with the writing and storylines that were beneath my reading level.
As luck would have it, my aunt replaced the ancient librarian who had been in her position for, oh, around 108 years. Or, at least it seemed like it. What a refreshing change! Nothing against Miss Georgia, but she single-handedly destroyed my older brother’s love of reading. It was the summer after the fourth-grade school year. He took “The Bears of Blue River” to the desk to check it out. Miss Georgia wouldn’t let him read it. “This is a Fifth Grade book. You’ll have to wait ‘til then.” Barely a month away. My brother, who had a bit of a stubborn streak, left the library and never returned.
Back to my reading boredom. Between my eight grade and freshman year, my beloved Aunt Gertrude, began setting books aside she thought I’d enjoy reading. To Kill a Mockingbird, of course, and anything by Steinbeck. I graduated to slightly steamier novels like Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, and later, in high school, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. She made me swear not to tell my mother she let me check that one out. I believe I hid the book under my mattress until I finished reading and returned it, safely, to the library.
I’m sure, by now, you’re wondering, “What’s the point of this post?” I’m getting to that.
I now consider myself to be a pretty fair writer. My children’s book series, Cynthia’s Attic, has been well-received by readers of all ages. My new series, Andi Anna Jones Mysteries, is about to make its debut and am I ever excited! Writing these mysteries has given me a new perspective. While I love writing for middle-grade, it does keep the creative juices flowing when you change things up every now-and-then.
I wouldn’t be writing, however, if not for one important fact.
It all starts with reading!
Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery # 1 – Preorder, soon!