My mother was the one who always encouraged me to read a lot as a kid, but there were select books and shows that fueled my desire to tell stories. I’ve always been a daydreamer. My mind creates stories whether I like it or not, and there were several influences from my childhood.
As a kid I enjoyed comic books filled with heroics, but I also loved horror, sci-fi and fantasy. The books that most influenced me were R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and pretty much anything written by Stephen King. I have an entire bookshelf filled with King’s books, and people always ask what my favorite King novel is. As much as I love his popular classics, my favorite would have to be the Dark Tower series as a whole.
I loved dark twisted stories that would make your heart pound with every page turn, but television also greatly inspired my creativity.
There was a show on Nickelodeon when I was young called Are You Afraid of the Dark where a group of kids would sneak out and tell spooky campfire stories. I was always fascinated by the idea of telling haunting tales by a campfire, but sadly this is still something that I’ve never done.
I can’t remember how old I was when I saw the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie on TV, but I thought it was the coolest idea I’d ever seen. The movie was not nearly the same caliber as the TV show that later followed, so why was the movie so important to me? Almost every book I read had a male protagonist, and if my memory serves me correct, this was a point where I said, “Wow this girl is a hero!” I don’t think I even stopped to question why all my books had male protagonist. I’d seen some females in comics, but this was different somehow. It was empowering to see Buffy kick ass as she went from cheerleader to vampire slayer. I later rejoiced when the TV series was announced for the WB, and I have faithfully followed Joss Whedon ever since.
I read every book I could get my hands on and always daydreamed about my own stories. I tried to write a few novels in high school, but never stuck with the writing. What inspired me to try again? That would be Joss Whedon. My love of Buffy and all things Whedon inspired me to try again, and I finished the draft of The Alliance: Bloodlines.
I’ve since lost my love of horror, and i’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s because everything seems less scary now? Or the new generation of horror movies seem stale? My current inspiration comes from writers/creators: Whedon, Felicia Day, Brian K Vaughan, and Jane Espenson. When Joss Whedon first announced that he would be writing The Astonishing X-men, I decided that I would also try my hand at writing comics. I adapted Bloodlines into a limited series comic book which I pitched to publishers. I didn’t give up even when that project failed, but instead I kept practicing and have worked on scripts for several other projects.
So I guess if I could say anything to potential writers or even current authors, I would say take risks, be bold, write lovable characters, create breath taking worlds and send positive messages through stories.
The stories we write now could hugely impact the next generation of writers.
Honorable mentions from my childhood must include: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, TMNT, Alice in Wonderland, Superman movies and Batman movies, X-men comics, and more.