Nancy J. Cohen
My daughter, who is a busy career woman, would rather watch TV to relax than read a book. No matter how much I try to convince her that reading novels can be valuable, she is not a Fictionista. I started thinking how books have influenced my life.
In the early days, I read Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and Judy Bolton mystery series. This initiated my love for the genre but it did more than that. Reading about Cherry Ames made me want to be a nurse. I wanted to ease people’s fears in the hospital and help them deal with illness. And so I volunteered in the local hospital and took employment, when of age, as a nurse’s aide for a summer job. Nursing school loomed in the future following high school.
A career choice faced me. I was also a student of ballet and could have auditioned for a professional company, but that would have meant daily rehearsals and giving up my ambitions to be a nurse.
Nursing won out, and I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. If you take a look at a site like www.testprepselect.com/medical-nursing/best-mcat-books/, you’ll get an idea of the sort of books that I would have had to read while I was at nursing school. As I am a big fan of reading, I did not find it boring or hard work. In fact, it kept me going. Plus, I was constantly learning something new daily.
Meanwhile, I was still an avid reader and had even tried my hand at some short stories. But it wasn’t until grad school in nursing that I decided to write a novel. Stories by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney inspired me to write romantic suspense. I bought a book called Structuring Your Novel and that’s how I learned to write a full-length book. I wrote six books before one sold. My romantic suspense never got anywhere. When I combined my love of scifi with romance, that’s what sold. Now I had two blossoming careers. What next?
I discovered humorous cozy mysteries with Jill Churchill. Oh, my. These were great. I liked the humor. I liked the structure. And so I wrote one. That sold, and the Bad Hair Day mysteries were born. Now I’m retired from nursing but the writing career is still going strong. Thanks to these books I’d read, not only did I become a writer, but I practiced ten good years as a registered nurse.
What books have inspired you in life? Have any of them led to a career other than writing?