• Meghan Douglass

The Authors and Books That Inspired Me

Updated: Apr 7

I have read many books over the years, more than I can count. I fell in love with reading at a young age and have been reading anything I can get my hands on ever since. I am one of those strange people who don't stick to one genre, I like to read it all. I love fiction, non-fiction, classics, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, true crime, historical fiction, horror. So when it comes to writing now, I love writing it all too, not sure this is a good idea but I have to be me and that means I have to write whatever I feel in the moment even if that makes me a slightly eclectic, multi-genre author.

I wanted to piece together a bit of the history of the books that ignited my passion for reading and the ones that made me hope I could one day be a writer. The joy I get from reading a good book is immense and I hope one day I can give someone else the same joy from my own writing.

There are a few stand out books from when I was young which I absolutely adored and likely had significant influence on what I read and write today. This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase something through these links I make a small commission at no extra cost to you (Disclosure statement).

Books that inspired me from my childhood:

Jess the Border Collie Series by Lucy Daniels

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

The Witch In The Lake by Anna Fienberg

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

This is a snapshot of the many books I read and loved but these are some of the ones that stand out in my memory.

I read so many of Lucy Daniel's books when I was young, I loved animals, so they were a perfect fit for me and probably some of the reason I went to University and studied a Bachelor of Science (Animal Science). The Jess the Border Collie series is a fantastic, emotional journey for a young person to go on. It is well written, so much so I still remember how I felt reading different books in the series. My Mum bought me the Animal Ark books by Lucy Daniels first and I was hooked, and then one Christmas I was given the entire Jess The Border Collie Series. "The Incredible Journey" was much the same as well, I loved animals and the emotional journey I went on with these three pets has stuck in my memory all my life. This was one of the first real novels I picked up as a child and I loved it. It was one of my Mum's when she was young and she gave it to me which means I have an emotional attachment to it as well.

"The Witch In The Lake" and Harry Potter both introduced me to a world of fantasy I hadn't yet experienced and sparked something inside me which continues to burn bright to this day. While I read a broad range of books, I love coming back to fantasy. It may sound strange but for me, it feels like coming home when I enter realms where impossible things occur. I love it and I love the escape from reality. Fantasy has helped me cope over the years when the real world has been a bit too much and I am so grateful to my Dad for buying both these books for me at an airport on his way home from business trips because they have heavily influenced what I read and write today.

Books that inspired me to write:

It's hard to stick to just a few books and authors that I love who have influenced and inspired me, so I'll try not to list my entire library. This is in no particular order.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is one of my all time favourite authors and again my first introduction to her was dipping into my Mum's collection of books. Agatha Christie's book "And Then There Were None" Is one of my all time favourite books. Her books are masterpieces of mystery and this was the beginning of my love of crime and murder mysteries. One of the things I love most is trying so hard to guess who did it, and she is so clever about the way she peppers her clues throughout, I have only ever managed once and it was a guess. If you look back through though, you can see the clues really were there all along.

Her writing is so clever and I could only dream of being able to write like her but I hope one day I can come up with something half as clever that leaves someone guessing right until the end. She had a unique way of plotting out a story which makes her books timeless. "And Then There Were None" is slightly different to most of her other books as it has no main detective and only 10 characters, all stuck on an island, each being murdered one by one. Even though I know the ending I've still read this book multiple times and watched every movie version I could find because it's so amazing.

J. R. R. Tolkein

Lord of the rings was my first introduction to real epic fantasy. The intricate and detailed world Tolkein created is incredible. He built an entire world right down to the smallest detail, his mind was unique and there won't be many who have the patience to create something people can become fully immersed in. I certainly don't aspire to write like Tolkein but ever since reading the Hobbit when I was young, I have loved getting lost in epic worlds created by amazing authors.

Stephen King

Stephen King, to me at least, is a god among writers. He is a huge part of my inspiration and desire to become a writer. He is well known for his horror but he writes a diverse range of work as well, not all of it terrifying (the terrifying stuff is great too though). One of my favourite series of all time is The Dark Tower series, he created a whole world or multiple worlds even. The incredible thing about this series is the number of seemingly unrelated books he has written which link into the series and add details to the series. It's truly an incredible mind that can build something so beautifully intricate.

He has so many great books but it was when I read his book "On Writing" that I first thought maybe I could be a writer too. I wasn't one of these people that grew up believing I would be a writer, I honestly didn't believe I had a creative bone in my body when I was younger but I loved to read. When I read this book it made something in my brain click into place and what had been just a passing thought of writing, turned into a fully fledged dream. I learned so much from this book and I honestly think it is a must read for any aspiring authors or even established authors. Learning about Stephen King's process has helped me develop my own in a way that works for me and fits in with my life (if you are interested in this check out my post 5 Writing Tips For The Stay at Home Mum).

Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs has inspired me to pursue writing by making me realise that in life, we don't have to be good at only one thing. We can use talents from our other careers to serve our writing. Without being a forensic anthropologist, her books would not be as realistic as they are. She has used her lifetime of work and experience to create extremely realistic and scientifically accurate books which are easy to immerse yourself in. I too can use my past life as a scientist to help create an authenticity to some of my own writing which others may not have the background to add without extensive research, She has taught me to use the things that make me special to make my books special too.

Philippa Gregory

This is the last one, I promise, although I could go on and on and on. Philippa Gregory writes historical fiction in such a way you feel transported back in time, seeing everything as it would have been. When reading her books I have a bad habit of forgetting the "fiction" part of historical fiction. Everything she writes feels so plausible and believable, you feel like it must have happened exactly how she says. They are so well researched and so detailed.

I grew up with an obsession for Tudor history and I used to research and learn as much as I could about it because I found it fascinating. So when I discovered these books, it was a match made in heaven. I don't know if I will ever have the time or patience to be able to put in the incredible hours of research a book like this would require, but I hope one day I can write something to transport people to a point in time and make it feel believable.

Honestly every book I have ever read has influenced me in some way, so many authors have impacted the way I write too. Authors like Jane Austen, Virginia Andrews, James Herbert, Cassandra Clare, Lemony Snicket, Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, John Wyndham, Emily Rodda, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, Clive Barker, George R. R. Martin, Douglas Adams and so many more. They created worlds for me I could escape to and inspired me to try and create worlds of my own. Who knows, maybe someone will talk about me in their blog post as having been an inspiration to them (not likely but a girl can dream).

Thank you for reading my post, if you haven't read all of these books then I sincerely hope you do and that you get as much enjoyment out of them as I have. If you are interested in hearing more about my writing journey check out one of my previous posts When the reader becomes the writer and don't forget to subscribe below.

Bookshelves filled with books

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