My first novel of inspiration was Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. I read it in the eighth grade in just a week during spring break, and I can remember thinking upon completing the final page… “That was awesome, but I could do that.” I loved Scarlett for her fire and passion, I hated Melanie for her lack of the same, and I knew that Rhett would someday come and sweep me off my feet. The fact that I can still conjure up those feelings now thirty years later is a tribute to Mitchell for her strong portrayal of powerful and unforgettable characters.Pearl Buck and James Clavell are two other writers whom I adored. Extremely different in their writing styles and yet unique in their ability to transcend time and bring the reader to a different era, I loved all of their works. Tai-Pan is an epic novel about the time when people travelled the world on the ‘seven seas’, as American and European traders moved into Hong Kong in the year 1842. The Good Earth, ‘slightly’ shorter in length (smile), has been in my hands many times over the years, as I dreamily envisioned the rice patty fields in China in the early twentieth century.Books for me have been like music to most people. We may remember songs that bring us back to a different time in our own lives, usually a time that made us happy and was more carefree, yet a good book will always be able to transport me. The time that I read Buck and Clavell’s books brings me back to a day when the whole world was before me in my youth and anything seemed possible… even if finances, family and life would soon prove different and steer me down an altered path to my heart’s desire.
It took only thirty years for me to come back around to doing what I truly love, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so as I write today. Since then, I have read hundreds of books that have inspired me (The Kite Runner), books that have infuriated me (Gone Girl) and books that have brought me back to my days of dreams of far-off places and lands (Memoirs of a Geisha Girl). Writing and reading are now intertwined in my psyche and both allow me to feel, explore and grow. I love that the written word can induce such passion in people, and hope that my books will do the same for those seeking readers who are looking to escape as they read them.
What books have inspired you over the years? Which stories have moved you you? What novel(s) can you recommend as inspirational, for whatever reason, to those of us who love and adore the written prose?