Often, I hear writers talk of how, when they were little girls, they’d write their own stories, sometimes dreaming of being an author one day. I was not one of them. I did not enjoy creative writing in school and was not an avid reader—mostly Enid Blyton books when I did. I do remember the Famous Five and Secret Seven books fondly though. Oh yes, and comics … those count for reading, don’t they? Archie, Jughead, Richie Rich, Little Dot, Big Ethel, etcetera, etcetera. In high school, I struggled through Shakespeare, The Great Gatsby, and other set reading books.
Through my later teens and early twenties, I enjoyed a few romances and Wilbur Smith books. I guess my true love of reading Christian fiction began when my brother, an avid reader with a capital A-V-I-D, introduced me to Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. From there, I discovered Eric Wilson and Brandilyn Collins before transitioning into the contemporary and historical Christian romance / Women’s Fiction books of Liz Curtis Higgs, Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, and Angela Hunt. Some transition, huh?
It was only closer to my fortieth birthday, when I felt the desire to write, and nearer my fifties when my passion for writing contemporary Christian romance was born. I love what God has called me to do. Even though I regret not having had an early start, I have found that you are never too old to learn. And never too old to do what God has created you to do. My friend, Ann Goodfellow, published her first Prayer and Devotional book when she was 70 years of age, and she has subsequently published more books in the years that have followed. My late aunt wrote her matric (Tenth grade or Year 11) when she was 70. Never too old…
I use the opportunities I can to try and instill a love of reading and writing in my grandkids. Often, I’ll help ten-year-old Phoenix with his creative writing, gently guiding him to excellence in the stories he has to write for school. And sometimes, I’ll wonder whether any of them will walk in my footsteps and become writers too. One can hope because, even though it’s a tough profession with long, hard hours of work, it’s also an extremely rewarding one. When you get those reviews or emails or messages from a reader that tell you what a particular story has meant to them … well, that makes it all worth it.
This photo I took of my granddaughter inspired me to write this blog, and also ask a few of my author friends to share their “When I grow up” stories.
So please read the wonderful childhood stories from my friends, Narelle Atkins, Dianne J. Wilson, Laurie Larsen, and Autumn Macarthur.
The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton were my all-time favourite childhood books. My mum would read to me at bedtime for hours, and she lost count of how many times she read through the series. Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series were my other favourites. I wanted to grow up and be an author like Enid Blyton. ~ Narelle Atkins
Painfully shy — that was me. I hardly spoke around people I didn’t know, died inside on ‘speech day’ at school and had zero ambitions of growing up to be anything other than a home-body. I would play in the garden for hours while my imagination ran riot. I didn’t once think I could write a whole book.
I didn’t love school, but I loved words and I loved reading. I flew under the teacher’s radar at all times except when I wrote stories. They noticed me then. That’s when the gold stars, the full marks and the glowing comments would finally come my way. You’d think writing books would show up on my horizon then, but, nope, nothing!
It was only after I’d left school and had some freelance writing success that I started to dream of writing meaningful things and the book penny dropped. The soil had been successfully tilled all through school and the idea took root and grew. I’m currently working on my seventh book and loving being an author! ~ Dianne J. Wilson
I was always the kid who wrote stories. My mom would read them dutifully, always telling me how much she enjoyed them. I must’ve done some early market research because at the age of eight, I wrote a really sad story. The main character’s dog ran away, she fell off her horse and broke her leg and a family member died. My mother must’ve thought I was going through some emotional turmoil. She asked me why my story was so sad. I announced, “Happy stories don’t sell, Mom. Something bad always has to happen!” Which isn’t too far from the way I write books now! ~ Laurie Larsen
I wrote stories from as soon as I learned how to make letters at about age 6! As a kid, I used to make my own “books”, handwritten and illustrated stories stapled together into booklets. As I grew up, I kept writing — poetry, short stories, articles — but it wasn’t till my late forties I started writing seriously. Actually finishing a full-length story rather than giving up after a few chapters. God is good, and only when I came back to Him after my wilderness years and started writing Christian stories did it all come together for me. I can’t imagine ever NOT writing now! ~ Autumn Macarthur
What about you? What did you want to be when you grew up?