Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blast from the past

I've been thinking a lot lately about Cathi, my best friend from high school. She now lives in New York City, but she's coming down to Alabama for our 20th class reunion (cue horror movie music--20 YEARS!!!) this weekend. Also, she's getting married in NYC in the fall, and my mom and I are throwing a bridal tea for her while she's down. She's getting married in a red dress and plans to spin fire for all the guests on the roof after the ceremony. My parents want to know whether she plans to spin fire out in the field at the bridal tea. I have told them it's been so dry here lately, we'd probably have to get a special permit from the fire marshal.

As you might have guessed, Cathi is the inspiration for a lot of my characters. She's the idea behind the heroine who has an artsy professional job in New York and dyes her hair pink, the heroine who settles down a lot later than everyone else because she's not through traveling, the heroine who comes from multiple broken homes and blended families and seems to emerge from it all okay. But she's also the inspiration behind my nascent writing career. In junior high we found we were kindred spirits fascinated by stories. We would stay up until the wee hours on weekends, drinking Coke, taking turns jumping on the mini-trampoline in my room, and talking out how we would re-write Lois Duncan YA romantic suspense novels starring the real boys we had crushes on. I think it was during those marathon sessions that I first got the sense that the majority of writing a novel is "setting it up"--certain things need to go a certain way for other things to fall into place. And I first got the sense that this was something I could do. In other words, that's when I became a writer.

How about you? Do you have early influences who made you the writer you are today?

3 comments:

Carla Swafford said...

Mine was/is my dad. He tells the best stories and hopefully they're 75% true. LOL! He's the one I inherited the love of reading from and it has progressed from there.

Christy said...

Jenn, too cool about your friend. What a fun wedding she's going to have.

Early influence would definitely have to be my mom, who raised three daughters on her own and had a very successful career. I love books, and love to write books about strong women...my mom is one of the strongest women I know.

Funny, I was just thinking this morning, that when I was in school, I always got in trouble and it was frequently noted on my report card, that I was too much of a day dreamer. I'm so glad I never stopped dreaming!

MaryF said...

Early influences? There are so many: from my parents who loved to read, to friends that would talk to me about the stories we read.

But, I have to say, like you I have a friend, Jen, that truly pushes me to go the distance, who inspires my writing and is truthful about it. Who never rolls her eyes or blows me off when I call at an odd hour saying: "I've got the greatest idea!" or "There is this dream I had..."
(and she is hysterically funny)