Life Changing Books

The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #5: A book that has influenced my life

This is a great question, and there’s several–I’ve talked about some of these before, so I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record.

I didn’t exactly have the best life growing up/in my teens. My mother died when I was 13 and I went into a system of foster care, rotating between my much older siblings and other people connected to my family. I hated my life and most of all, I hated living in the small, backwards town I lived in where there was basically nothing for a teenager to do but get into trouble–which I did, a lot. Even back then I was obsessed with horror novels and movies, probably because I was morbid due to my circumstances. Around the age of 15 (it’s been a long time and hard to remember my exact age) I found a copy of The Vampire Lestat at a flea market/basement sale type thing and of course it had the word VAMPIRE in the title, so I had to have it and read it.

It turned out that book changed my entire life–largely, because if you haven’t read it, through most of the first half, Lestat is a young (human) man who is desperate to escape his dreary provincial life and horrible family situation. He ends up doing this in the most fantastical way, by becoming a vampire (though it’s forced upon him) and taking on Paris, becoming an actor and ruling the night. For me, it sounded like all my daydreams come true. And even though it’s a largely tragic story about losing your humanity while trying to find yourself, it resonated with me so strongly at that impressionable, miserable age and gave me hope. I still have that falling apart, rag-tag copy I bought for 50 cents all those (many!) years ago. It’s held together with tape now and the pages are yellow, but I will never throw it away.

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is also the book that changed how I look at writing, when I was a young and very green writer. Her dark and frank sense of humor is right up my alley, and the lessons she teaches in it made things very clear for me at the time. I still have that old book too! I also have an old copy of Sophy Burnham’s For Writer’s Only which is full of amazing and resonating quotes for authors. I have a lot of old books!

How about you? What book changed your life?

3 Comments

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  1. Katherine Anne Porter’s SHIP OF FOOLS. When I was a teen, I felt out of step and out of sync with the entire world (don’t we all?), including my loving but not-like-me family. I always seemed to make the wrong decisions, say the wrong thing, use the wrong tone of voice. Porter’s book about a cruise ship full of adults fucking up right and left made me feel normal!

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