Sunday, October 14, 2007
Who Inspired Me
By Marcia Mickelson
Elodia's post got me thinking about what inspired me to be a writer. I have always loved to read. As a youngster, I loved to curl up with Ramona Quimby books and Nancy Drew mysteries. I loved the library & books. That's probably the case for most of us. In my mid teens, I also found I liked to write. I still have some old notebook sheets with my first stories. When I was sixteen and had been a member of the Church for only two years, I came up with an idea that I thought was uniquely my own. Why not write a story with Mormon characters? I had never heard of Jack Weyland. I honestly thought it was my idea. I lived in New Jersey and had no LDS books around. No Internet back then, either.
I'd just purchased my very first computer-- a Mac Plus. So, I went to work on my Mormon novel. I remember those days with much joy. I loved my computer and I loved writing. My novel went unfinished as I went to BYU the following year. I was too busy there to write or even read for fun. I had still to read an LDS novel. Several years and 2 children later, we went back to Utah for a visit and I browsed the shelves at BYU. I loved browsing the LDS fiction and it was hard to just pick one. I finally picked up my first Jack Weyland novel- Cheyenne in New York. I read a few other LDS novels that summer- Mormonville by Jeff Call and Until Proven Guilty by Betsy Brannon Green. I was hooked! I had to get my hands on every one of Betsy's books. I e-mailed her and told her how much I loved her books. She e-mailed me back and told me how she got started. That summer I read a lot of LDS novels. Jennie Hansen became a quick favorite.
I decided I wanted to finish my novel I'd started 10 years before. I pulled out my old disks & obsolete Macintosh. I spent many hours at Kinkos trying to update my document. So, I finished my novel and submitted it. It was rejected and I realized it wasn't good. However, I did learn a lot about how not to write a novel. After several other rejected novels, Star Shining Brightly was finally published. In the end, I have to say that I was very inspired by Betsy Brannon Green and Jennie Hansen. I love their novels and have spent many hours devouring their books.
I returned to the BYU bookstore last year to browse the LDS fiction shelves. How exciting to see my book on the shelf. What a memorable day that was. (Look, Katie. Your book's there too!)