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Monday, February 2, 2015

My First Love by Paty Jager

When I was five years old, I leaned over my brother's shoulder as my mother listened to him read. I followed along and became entranced with the written word.

Living twelve miles from town and spending long, lonely summers without friends, I read a lot. When we made the trip to the grocery store, I'd beg to go to the library. I'd gather up as many books as they'd allow me to borrow at a time and haul the home to read. Reading was my window in to worlds I'd never be able to see otherwise.

In grade school my favorite books were by Lois Lenski, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Marguerite Henry. Middle school I read the Nancy Drew mysteries, books by Walter Farley, and started reading the Gothics. In high school I read mysteries and picked the fattest, fiction books I could find. I wanted the stories to last me longer than a couple days. That's when I first read Gone With the Wind. Then, as a innocent young girl, I was swept away in the angst and tragedy of the war. Reading the book as an adult, I have to say Scarlet gets on my nerves. ;)

I spent many nights under the covers of my bed with a flashlight reading when I was supposed to sleeping. My Saturday morning job was vacuuming. I usually did the chore while reading. While my brothers fished, I read a book. While the family watched TV, I read a book.

While in college I didn't have time for reading for fun. But once I was a young wife with small children, I picked up my habit with a vengeance. I was a regular at the local library and read every mystery I could find. When I found an author I liked, I read every book in the library by them.

After a while, I thought, I can write a mystery. I'd had several incidents in high school and college where my writing had caught the teachers interest. I took writing classes at the community college and tried to hook up with mystery writing people. I didn't have much luck and found a romance writer organization that helped writers. I switched my writing to romance and am now published.

The only down-side to becoming a published author, I have so little time to read. I read, but mostly for research for the next book I'm writing. I miss reading for the pure joy of reading and have decided to make 2015 the year I read more for pleasure. Right now I'm reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich and am finding the joy in reading just like I did as a five-year-old.

What are you reading? Were you always a reader or did you come to it late in life?

 www.patyjager.net
Writing into the Sunset

11 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

As you named off those childhood favorite authors, I thought 'Yes! Yes! and Yes!' because they were mine, too.

The summer before kindergarten, my older brother was sick in bed and bored. He taught me to read and there was no going back!

I'm reading Lily by Judith Ashley, You Can't Make This Stuff Up! by Theresa Caputo (the Long Island Medium(, and Beta-reading The Witch with the Trident Tattoo by Diana McCollum. They are all wonderful books.

Paty Jager said...

Sarah, I think all writers were early readers. Nice to see we both have good taste in authors. ;) You reading list right now sounds interesting.

Kai Strand said...

One of my crit buddies didn't become a reader until she was a teacher and that inspired her writing. I never tire of hearing about people's love for reading and what books they adored as a child. I was a huge Farley fan as a girl. Little House, Judy Blume. Didn't read a lot of fantasy, which is funny, since now I write it.

Paty Jager said...

Kai, That's interesting that your critique buddy was a late reader. I've always thought of writers as being people obsessed with words their whole life. I didn't know you were a horsey girl. Yay!

That is interesting that you write fantasy but didn't read it much. But then I write romance and didn't really read that much of it before I started writing it.

Diana McCollum said...

I would have to say I really started reading and checking out lots of books at about twelve. Up to then, I'd read books but that wasn't my whole focus I've read the same books as you. Right now I am reading the Outlander series. I am on book six. These books are what I call epic. Each one is around 900 words and the author said with research etc it takes her around three years to write one. It follows an English woman who time travels to Scotland, not once, but twice so far, and her scotish husband/warrior. In this book they are now grandparents and living in the colonies in America. The Revolution is about to break out and they are now headed back to Scotland.

Maggie Lynch said...

I also read Laura Ingalls Wilder, along with Louisa May Alcott. Though I did read Nancy Drew mysteries, I tired of them because they weren't complex enough. One of my childhood favorites was Pippi Longstocking because of her independence. I also started reading SF then with Madeline L'Engle.

Like you I definitely read late into the night with a flashlight under the sheets. However, my favorite reading spot was in a tree in our backyard. I would climb to the highest supportable branch, about 25-30 feet up, and sit in a crook with a book. It got me away from the chaos of a big family and for some reason no one ever thought to look up to find me. :)

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Reading is still my first love. As a young girl growing up on a small Caribbean island, it helped me escape. I got transported to places I never thought I would visit. At age 6, I read my first Harlequin, and hid that book under my mattress. Mind you there was no sex. Today I still love my childhood classics. Ann of Green Gables, Little Women... yes!

Fiola Faelan said...

Loved reading about your love of reading and the books you read as a child. I also learned to love reading as a young child and it took off from there! Best Christmas and birthday presents were when Dad would choose one of his old books from the shelf and give it to us with an inscription from him. I became hooked on romance in my early 30's and it took off from there! :)

Paty Jager said...

Diana, I haven't read any of the Outlander books. They are set in an earlier part of history that doesn't interest me like the 1800's in the U.S. does. Thanks for commenting!

Maggie, I didn't read Louisa May Alcott until I was an adult. I'm not sure why... As a child, I had spot by the river under a cottonwood and behind ferns that I'd hide to draw and write.

Marcia, your island sounds like my backwoods valley I lived in. I used books to discover places I only heard about.

Fiola, What a wonderful gift from your father! Glad to hear I'm not the only late bloomer reading romance. Thanks for commenting!

Judith Ashley said...

I think I'm the latest to come to reading romance - late 1990's! and maybe the latest to start writing it (1999-2000). However, I was an early reader, share the love of reading, miss reading for pleasure now that I'm writing, no longer have to read a book under the covers with a flashlight (there is something to be said for being an adult).

Books always took me to places and times that filled my imagination with wonder. I was a regular at the library, always entered the summer reading contest and always had all the polka dots on the clown suit or whatever they used that year to show how many books you'd read filled.

Louisa May Alcott was a favorite. Still remember crying. Loved Anne of Green Gables and still have the set my grandfather gave me one year for Christmas.

I'm reading Bob Mayer's book on catastrophes. Very, very thought provoking so for me, very slow reading because I put it down every few pages and it could be weeks before I pick it back up.

My Kobo is finally recharged so I may get some reading for enjoyment in one of these days. I just find it difficult to read when I'm in the middle of writing a story...so it maybe a while before I get back to that love of reading for fun and enjoyment.

Paty Jager said...

Judith, I'm the same way! There are so many books I want to read but to find the time while writing is hard.