READER FRIDAY: What Book Inspired You to Start Writing?

Books have influenced my life since I was in elementary school. I remember summer afternoons where my mother would take us to the library and we’d spend hours roaming the aisles looking for a handful of books to read. My senses still respond with joy when I enter a library. But it wasn’t until I read Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series that I noticed Ludlum’s page turning skills and got the itch to write my own original work. What about you?

What author or book got you hooked on the idea of writing your first novel? Tell us about it and your journey.


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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

17 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY: What Book Inspired You to Start Writing?

  1. The Exorcist. I was a little kid and had to sneak the grown up book out of my parents’ den. It scared the bejeebies out of me. And that’s when I realized what a powerful effect a good story could have. I wanted to create stuff like that, too.

  2. THe Outsiders. At that time (16), I started on a YA novel. Unknown to me I was starting a YA novel. I now write romance. 😉 Many years later!

    • S E Hinton wrote remarkable YA but someone recommended her first adult book – Hawked Harbor. An odd yet addictive novel. I devoured it, despite the unusual paranormal elements. I learned a great deal on technique with a book that traverses past & present time with ease. It influenced me to write my first YA – In the Arms of Stone Angels. I employed Hinton’s craft technique of using sights, sounds & images to trigger past memories. Glad you reminded me of Hinton’s work, Tracy.

    • Same here. I read it after seeing the movie, then wrote my own version of it. I was in my early teens so it was horrific writing but it led me down the romance writing path.

  3. Dr. Seuss sparked the fire, making me want to be a writer when I was little. I loved that he made up words which meant it was okay for me to do it too.

    The Princess Bride poured gasoline on the fire and is the reason I am a novelist. The humor mixed with action and adventure coupled with “love conquers all” caused my heart to weep and soar all at the same time. (I pray my books generate the same reaction.)

    • Oh, I forgot about Michael Crichton and Thomas Harris. They are the reason I devour and write thrillers.

  4. Oh, so many choices.
    A Wrinkle in Time – the concept fascinated me.
    Charlotte’s Web – made me cry.
    Dr. Seuss – He showed how much fun words could be.
    Nancy Drew – Started my mystery obsession.

  5. The Shadow Side by Linda Castillo. I thought I was writing a mystery, but my kids said it was a romance. I’d never read a romance, and was stuck with the Harlequin lines in my head, and I couldn’t get on board with the conventions. Shadow Side introduced me to romantic suspense, where there was more freedom.
    (And I was a card-carrying AARP member at this time. I never had any thoughts of becoming a writer before then, and even then, it was more of a “can I do it?” challenge–which turned out to be great fun.

  6. The book that inspired me to write is one I have never read again, and haven’t read another book by the author. It is A School Story by Andrew Clements. I picked it up in fourth grade in my school library, because I had to pick a book, and when I discovered it was about a seventh grader who wrote a book, I went “hey, I could too even though I’m just in fourth grade.”

  7. The Chronicles of Narnia. That was in third grade. After reading the books, I wrote what I called a sequel (but was, I suppose, actually a prequel): Aslan’s Story. Poor Aslan. The story wasn’t very good.

    Also Harriet the Spy, which I read around the same time. It prompted me to lug around a notebook all the time, observing things and taking notes, which isn’t bad training for a writer. But really I wanted to be a spy.

  8. It wasn’t any one book that made me want to write–it was these people coming to live in my head that did it. They wouldn’t leave until I told their story. But one book that has remained with me all these years is Exodus by Leon Uris. It changed my world view.

  9. Wow, what a great question. So many ways to go.

    CHARLOTTE’S WEB made me cry in the classroom and made me the subject of great derision among the other boys. Those were the years when boys didn’t cry.

    I was devoted to Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. Those were always library-pickups, but one Christmas, my parents got me THE SECRET OF SKELETON ISLAND, the first in the series that I actually owned. It was also the first hardcover novel I ever owned.

    Jim Kjelgaard wrote adventure stories featuring dogs. The one I remember most was BIG RED.

    The We Were There series inserted school-age boys into pivotal historical settings, and ignited a real love of history in me. That series took me to Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, Bataan and the Lafayette Escadrille. I devoured them.

    THE LORD OF THE FLIES had a huge impact on me. That was the first time I was able to see beyond the story to see the author’s real message. I was the brunt of a lot of what we’d call bullying today, so I felt for Piggy. But I identified with Ralph.

    APRIL MORNING by Howard Fast hit me hard when I read it. Adam Cooper’s hours-long transition from belligerent boy to man-of-the-house is stunning. (I also remember that the first shot is fired on page 100.)

    THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN by Michael Crichton captivated not just me, but also my high school buddies who were reading it at the same time. Most impressive (and memorable to me) was the fact that Crichton was still a student when he wrote that. By then, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and that little tidbit gave me hope. (Ditto Spielberg’s success with “Jaws”–a much better movie than book.)

    Everything ever written by Alistair MacLean.

    But the book of books for me, in terms of affecting my writing, is THE DAY OF THE JACKAL by Frederick Forsythe. That was the first book where I saw how the author was working his magic. I saw his use of space breaks and point of view shifts, though I didn’t have the vocabulary to identify them as such. I realized that tension is as much a part of the construction as it is of the story itself. That opened a huge door for me, and once opened, I could see how all of my favorite authors, from Stephen King to Vince Flynn, use the same techniques.

  10. I read to a group of 4th graders this morning for “Read Across America,” and before the Dr. Seuss story, I gave them a little rundown of my favorite books. The author that will always stand out to me as a life-changer is Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I was a little girl, I read about a little girl in a time I could only imagine, and as I grew up, I read about her growing up. This was a normal, everyday person who wrote books that enriched many lives!

  11. Dr. Seuss first inspired me (I started out writing children’s stories). I’d read his first Seuss book was done on a dare, which I loved.


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