Books That Made Our Authors, Authors

Books That Made Our Authors, Authors

In whatever one chooses to do in life, there’s usually a catalyst or defining moment when a career and/or life’s direction becomes a given. And, working on that premise, it would be reasonable to wonder what one book had most influenced our authors’ careers. So they were asked and the following take us beyond their pages:

EILEEN COOK (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? (YA))

“One book? Yikes. I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one. Without a doubt the biggest influence on my choice to be a writer was that my parents were huge readers. Our house was always over flowing with books. We always talked about what we were reading and I grew up having an insatiable desire to consume more and more books. I always knew that I wanted to be one of those people who got to make them up. What power! To be able to create your own world, populate it with whomever you want and to choose the ending.”

[Eileen recently heard that CBC Radio One listed What Would Emma Do? as one of their summer book recommendations.]

KRISTY KIERNAN (Catching Genius,Matters of Faith)

“Wow, that’s pretty tough. I can’t pick. I was such a voracious reader. I finished one and picked up the next. I read so many, so quickly, they ALL influenced my life and my career, the good ones, the awful ones, the ones I recall and the ones I’ve long forgotten.”


“To Kill a Mockingbird is at the top of my list–the first time I read it I realized books could matter in a way I’d never understood before. It led me to want to be an English teacher (which I did for 15 years) and also made me want to create characters and stories that readers would fall in love with. And of course, as an English teacher, I got to fall in love with so many other writers and books–and what I found was that I’m really drawn to voice in a book–and characters and stories that capture a specific time and/or place. The classics are good for that!”


“After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, Aldous Huxley. It was significant because it was given to me by my eighth-grade English teacher, the same man who first gave me the idea that I had stories to write that others might want to hear.”

ALLISON WINN SCOTCH (The Department of Lost and Found, Time of My Life)

“Well, my life is probably too big of a question to answer, but my career, I’m going to have to say Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I was piddling around with fiction, writing it, but not necessarily writing it well, when an editor friend referred me to this book. She said, “Read this. THIS is what you could be writing. THIS is how you craft a good book that you are capable of.” I read it, and not only was it and is it to this day one of my all-time favorites, but a light bulb clicked on – ah yes, this IS how you write a good book. I understood what Winston had done (not to take away from what she did, because as I said, I LOVED it) and how she did it in a way that I hadn’t before, and it really inspired me. I sat down and shortly thereafter wrote my debut novel, The Department of Lost and Found.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy)

“I can’t name any one book that changed the trajectory of my life as a writer, but many influenced me. My favorite book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; it taught me what it meant to take risks, to write beautifully, and that a novel is capable of evoking great swells of emotion. My second favorite book is probably The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime; again, it provided a great example of taking risks with the narrative, but it was also just brilliantly written. I have great admiration for both works and their authors. (And there are many more books I could talk about!)”

Also Therese and co-founder Kathleen Bolton of Writer Uboxed announced in yesterday’s post, On your mark, get set…CONTEST!, which runs through next Tuesday, August 4th. This requires you to become unboxed and submit as many hilarious analogies as possible for a chance to win a treasure of literary goodies. Play and have fun…

One thought on “Books That Made Our Authors, Authors

  1. Oooohhh, I love these kinds of questions!

    While I’m not a published writer, the first book that comes to mind when I think of one that made an impact on me: Anna Kareninina simply because it was the first ‘big’ book that I finished and it gave me the courage to go on and read all the classics that I should have read in high school but was too afraid or lazy to undertake.

    Love this post Larramie!

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