In many ways, Nancy Drew is directly responsible for my becoming a writer. Nancy was the first heroine who made me want to step inside the character’s shoes and inhabit her world. And who wouldn’t want to be Nancy Drew? She was attractive, intelligent, disciplined and adventurous. She was also a good friend to her sidekicks, Bess and George. She had a great wardrobe, a doting father and a devoted housekeeper in Hannah Gruen. Yep, I’m still waiting for that housekeeper at my house. And my little romantic heart always began to beat really fast whenever Ned Nickerson was around. I truly believe that the Ned and Nancy romance made me yearn for happily ever afters.
Nancy Drew mysteries were the ultimate adrenaline rush for the young girl I used to be. And come to think of it, this was the first “series” I ever read. And boy was I hooked! Everyone who knew me well had the foresight to purchase Nancy Drew books for me for Christmas and my birthdays. I actually still have a healthy amount of those books in my collection.
Many suspense authors grew up reading Nancy Drew. What’s amazing is how she inspired readers to become authors. Love Inspired suspense author Margaret Daley says, “Reading Nancy Drew as a child is what laid the groundwork for me to love writing and reading romantic suspense. She was curious and caring. She wanted to help others. Those are qualities I like in a heroine.”
And although I have heard a few rumblings about Trixie Belden, I still contend that Nancy Drew set the bar extremely high. Trixie didn’t have a cute little sports car that she rode in all over the place as she solved her mysteries. Although she was a great heroine for young girls, I feel very strongly that Nancy brought more to the table. She exuded confidence and a bold attitude that showed bravery and swagger.
Writer Julie Steele of The Yankee Belle BlogSpot says, “I picked up Nancy Drew 33:The Witch Tree Symbol at the library one day. Up until then, I’d ignored Nancy. I wasn’t into mysteries. But, like folks today, I was intrigued by the Amish. Read the book, just loved it and instantly became a fan. I glommed #1 The Old Clock through 32 and beyond. Why the change of heart? Nancy was smart, curious, adventurous. All the things I was. She was powerful and able to outwit the bad guys. Someone I wanted to be. Sure, she was a fictional heroine but also an excellent example of how to navigate the real world independently. A rare example back in the day.”
Author Marta Perry shared with me her love of Nancy Drew. “Nancy Drew changed my life! I happened upon my first Nancy Drew, “The Secret in the Old Clock,” in the library when I was eight. I was completely enraptured, and when I finished reading the book, besides wanting to be fearless and determined like Nancy, I also wanted to create stories that would do for other people what the author of that book did for me. So I owe my vocation to Nancy.” Now that is truly amazing!
Countless romantic suspense writers have Nancy Drew to thank for their writing careers. Love Inspired Suspense author, Sarah Varland, has fond memories of Nancy Drew. “I LOVED Nancy Drew!! I loved how she was a well developed character who DID feel emotions like fear, but pressed through them anyway to do what was right and find answers in the crimes she helped solve. I think a lot of my heroines are very similar to Nancy–they’ve got her fierce determination to find justice and her independent spirit, but when a handsome man comes along who is willing to help, they’re happy to work as a team to solve the case.” Hmm. Sounds like Sarah’s book “Tundra Threat” may have elements of Nancy Drew in it.
One of my proudest moments was when my twelve year old daughter, Sierra, discovered my Nancy Drew collection and the joys of reading these books. My oldest daughter, Amber, snubbed them after many years of Mom gently twisting her arm about reading the series. Hey, it’s pretty hard for old fashioned Nancy Drew to compete with Pretty Little Liars. But, according to Sierra, “Nancy Drew rocks. When I read the books I imagine I’m solving the mystery right along with her.”
Did you enjoy Nancy Drew mysteries? If so, did you have a favorite. Mine was “The Mystery at the Lilac Inn.” In celebration of Nancy Drew, I’m giving away a $20 Amazon card and one of my Harlequin Love Inspired books. Winner’s choice!