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!)


Tamra Norton said...

YAY!!! Isn't it so exciting to see your book ("baby") on the bookstore shelves!

Katie Parker said...

Hey, wow! I can see my book, right there!
And for the record, I loved Ramona Quimby too.