Saturday, 10 September 2011

Childhood Influences

I was compiling a 7 day biographical article for a website I'll be on in October and it was a fascinating reminder of some of the things that have influenced me from childhood and now appear in my writing. I hadn't planned it that way, but some of my children's stories and adult short stories were inspired by incidents, people or experiences from my past.

It's probably true of most writers, for we need to gain our insight and ideas from somewhere! One of my strongest memories is of my blind grandfather coming to stay with us when he was widowed. It was fascinating at the time, as he could read Braille and taught me to play dominoes with the little raised dots on them. And he taught me to tell the time with his Braille watch. So I fictionalised my memories and wrote a story for children with just such a grandfather.

In Summer of the Eagles, the heroine Stevie is orphaned at thirteen. I lost my father when I was twelve, so I tried to imagine what it must be like to lose both parents, and that's how Stevie came into existence. Even in my adult fiction, I can identify the influences that inform some of my writing today. A good exercise to try with a writing group is to ask everyone to remember something from their childhood and write either an article or story inspired by the incident - it's surprising what might come out of it!



  1. One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel. "Each of us is all the sums he has not counted..." Yes, we are. And our childhoods are the core.

  2. Hi Gail - thank you for that! I collect quotes and that's a great one I haven't heard before.