Flashback 1 . . . A small child creeps into the bedroom reserved for Grandma and heads straight to the boxes of books stored there. School books, literary classics, children’s stories . . . it doesn’t matter. She’s barely learned to read, but she’s already addicted to the magic between the pages.
Flashback 2 . . . It's Christmas and her old home is fifteen-hundred miles away. Yet, under the tree are three new books—her first new friends in this new place.
Flashback 3 . . . A teenager now, the girl can’t believe her luck. She’s been offered a summer job—her first—working in the school library. A summer surrounded by books. What could be better?
Moments like these shaped this unrepentant bookjunkie. Oh, there were other interests: horses, sports, an occasional boy. And of course, writing my own stories, a common side-effect of book addiction. Yet, even as I left childhood behind, went off to college, married, raised a daughter, and eventually found my dream job working in a library again (big surprise, huh??), the magic between the pages never lost its hold on me.
And that side-effect I mentioned? It’s still an issue. Under its early influence, I published articles in a regional parent’s magazine, wrote a speculative script that garnered me pitch sessions (but no sale, dang it) with the writing staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and collected lots of rejections plus a few encouraging comments from editors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley.
The good news is that, after years of working with children and realizing they are the audience I truly want to write for, that’s where the s-e’s influence is focused nowadays. I’m a member of SCBWI, belong to a critique group of children’s writers who keep me sane, and attend workshops and conferences whenever I can. I’m still collecting rejections, but the encouraging comments are still coming, too.