Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader-Part 1 of Why I Write

Most, if not all, writers start at the same place. As readers. Our love of reading leads us to fulfill our destiny of saying what others cannot. To produce the stories people need. And how did we learn such a career existed? By reading! We started as the readers we now cherish. Certain authors set us on the path. Everyone has their favorites. And these are the beautiful souls that lead me to my journey. The authors who turned me into a reader, and ultimately a writer.

Books writers and readers, Tolkien, Andrews, R.L. Stine, Ann M Martin

We’re going to do this as chronologically as possible. Becoming a reader starts in childhood. The books we’re read at home. The books our teachers and parents read to us. So journey with me, if you will, to the days of my youth…

P.D. Eastman

Go Dog Go a children's book by P.D. Eastman

Truthfully, this is my mom’s favorite children’s book. She read it to us often. And, while I have no idea why she loves it (I found the dog who didn’t like the other dog’s hat mean, but what did I know? I was just a kid) this book was a staple of my childhood. I knew all the words, all the puppies inside, and all the silly pictures. Entertaining and memorable. This probably started my whole crazy writer life. So… Thanks Mom!

Eastman created a lovely dog world in Go, Dog. Go! Simple. Fun. Relatable. My four year old niece loves it. Her grandma, my mom, reads it to her. Just as she did with me. Hopefully it will instill in her a love of silly stories the way it did for this writer. Who knows? Maybe my niece will grow to be an author herself!

R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine. A popular scary story for kids.

What kid doesn’t love Goosebumps? I think every child in America gets a solid start with R.L. Stine. Spooky. Creepy. So. Much. Stinking. Fun! I loved every single one. And then he did the Choose Your Own Adventure books! The ones where you pick where you go in the story. Jumping around the entire book. What fun! Ah! I can’t get over what Stine did for me as a kid. I picked up my first Goosebumps in like… 5th grade? (ish.) And let me tell you… I wasn’t thrilled. I thought, “This book looks stupid. No princesses. Why do I care about monsters? These books are for boys!”

What an idiot. I loved the first one, and every single one after. So great! R.L. Stine speaks to kids beautifully. He entertains. Reaching the entire audience of children. Every kid loves his stories. He speaks to them, and their interests. Such a talented writer.

Ann M. Martin

The first Baby-sitters Club Book a book series for kids by Ann M. Martin

Oh, man. My friends and I LIVED off these books for all of 6th grade. At least. Actually it started in 4th grade. Maybe even sooner. We read these books furiously. Every single one. All the spin-offs. We watched the TV show and the movie. A great time was had and this book series was responsible for so much of it.

Martin creates fun stories, that deal with what kids deal with. Friendship dynamics, step-parents, diabetes… Her stories aren’t traumatic, but they don’t graze over real-life stuff. Growing up, I was totally a Kristy (kind of bossy, resourceful, ambitious) and my best friend was a complete Claudia (artistic, free-spirited, innovative). Parts of our personalities had the potential to put our friendship at risk. But! I fully believe this book series showed us that different personalities can thrive together. Everyone is important. We embraced who were were, just like the girls in Baby-sitters Club did. Ann M. Martin just gives me all the good feelings.

Yoshiko Uchida

Journey to Topaz, the story of Japanese Interment Camps, a children's book by Yoshiko Uchida

I read Journey to Topaz three times between 6th grade and 7th grade. I LOVE this book. The subject matter is deep and painful, but Uchida tells it with hope and beauty. A terrible mark on America’s history, this story made me think. Feel. I think that’s why I kept going back to it. It made me feel. It showed me something ugly, but taught me that people are strong.

I think this was the first book I read that invoked true emotion through writing. Oh! The Feelings!! Conflict. Sadness. Confusion. Injustice. But also hope. Strength. Tenacity. Ah! Yoshiko Uchida did such a beautiful job with this story. I think I’ll go read it again…

V.C. Andrews

Runaways, part of the Orphans series, by V.C Andrews.

I read this book in 9th grade. CHANGED MY LIFE. V.C. Andrews was a turning point for me. I went from girl who kind of likes to read sometimes to always having a book with me. In my backpack, in my locker, in my purse. I became a reader. A bookworm. And so, SO, happy.

This book may have been a tad mature for me at 14. But! It was so engaging. The story was captivating, driven, suspenseful. Andrews has a way of sucking you in, without mercy. Some of her plots are even predictable, but her storytelling forces you to keep going anyway. This author taught me the power of a book. Of a story.


The Lord of the Rings, fantasy books by J.R.R. Tolkien

No list of authors (if composed by myself) can exclude Tolkien. He is my literary idol. Tolkien took me from reader of whatever, to literature enthusiast. Okay… Story time!

First of all, I honestly thought I was too stupid to read “real” literature. Classics, if you will. I thought I wouldn’t understand them. That they’d be over my head. Vocabulary would be too difficult. Themes wouldn’t be exciting. Blah blah blah. People discouraged me from reading things like this. They said, “it’s probably too hard for you and boring.”


I love classics. You don’t have to be a genius to get them. Or love them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful and if anybody tells you differently you send them to me. I’ll take care of it. >insert chosen angry threat here<

Second, and this is a little shameful, I saw the first movie BEFORE I read any of the books. I hate myself for it, but… that’s just how my life played out. Any who, after seeing the movie Fellowship of the Ring I dashed out and bought ALL the books. I now own Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Simarillion, The Book of Lost Tales… Even some theory and language books on Tolkien’s world. Read ’em all. Love ’em all.

Tolkien opened up a doorway for me. Not just for classic literature, but for fantasy as well. A deep love of high fantasy grew quickly. Which led me to science fiction. Which led me to write. My first book is science fiction. Had I not ventured into Middle Earth, I never would continued on to create my own worlds. It really is that simple.

He is a true genius and beautiful soul. I owe him my life.


There was a time when I felt all I had was Middle Earth. Those adventures gave me purpose when dealing with a particularly difficult phase of life. I clung to them for strength. I keep them near now… Just in case I need them. Tolkien’s characters were my friends. My family. They still are.

And now I’m a reader who writes. Or a writer who reads. You can pick.

These are the writers who turned me into a reader. They’re the reason I write. Had I not found them, the fire of story telling would never have ignited. I’d be wandering around searching for a destiny. Now, I wander searching for a story.

But, you know what Tolkien says…

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)
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Be sure to check back for Part 2 of Why I Write: Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer. More authors to gush about. More books to swoon over… All that jazz. Also, I’d love to hear about the authors who took YOU from “regular person” to reader. What book changed your life and turned you into a fantasy world creature?

A Sneak Peek of “Maia”

The story of Thumbelina is breathed new life in this retelling of the classic fairytale. Maia is a young woman. Short, sweet, and sheltered. Her life was quiet until her best friend, Ben Swallow, admits his feelings for her. Then her mother announces it’s time for her to get married.  She’s quickly taken away by Mama Claiborne, whose son is perfect for her.  Will she ever see Ben again? Faced with horrors she’s never imagined, Maia will have to learn to fight for herself.

Here’s a sneak peek at K.D. Reed’s next novel, Maia

Maia confidently, but carefully, walked through the front door. It was time to face Mother, and though nervous, she was ready.

Mother sat at the table, facing the door. A statue, with her mouth in a strait line. Her face didn’t change when Maia entered.

“Oh, hello Mother,” she smiled. “Do you want me to set out dinner now, or wait until six?”

“I want you to sit down, and it is six o’clock.”

Maia looked to clock in the living room. She saw it was one minute after. “I can set out dinner first-”

“I said sit!”

“Yes, Mother.” She sat. “How was your afternoon?”

“I don’t want to discuss my afternoon, I want to discuss yours.”

“Well,” Maia began, “I finished the things you asked me to and cooked dinner. Then, I noticed we were low on a few things, so I made a grocery list. Maybe we can go to the market tomorrow?”

Mother stood so fast her wooden chair fell over. “Where were you?” she demanded.

Maia was startled. “I went for a walk,” she answered, as calmly as she could. There was only a small tremble in her voice.

“A walk?”

“It was such a lovely day, I thought I’d take advantage of the nice weather. Winter isn’t that far off. I wanted to enjoy the sunshine. I really didn’t go far, and I guess I lost track of the time. I’m sorry if I upset you, Mother. I only-”

“Stop rambling this instant!” She took a step closer to Maia, towering over her. “You were with Mr. Swallow.”

“That is true.” Maia decided before she walked through the door to be honest and finally stand her ground. She did nothing wrong. Well, almost. She really shouldn’t have let Ben kiss her the way he did. But, one crisis at a time. “Ben did accompany me.”

“I knew it!” Mother shouted, banging her fist on the table. “What have I told you about that boy? He’s a sinner! He’s a ruffian! He’ll ruin you!”

“Oh Mother, please. Ben is very kind, and generous. He’s smart too-”

“He must be smart! He’s convinced you to defy your mother and your God! He’s probably taken your virtue too!”

“He would never!” Maia raised her voice, then caught herself. She relaxed before adding, “He’s a gentleman, and has too much respect for me to do such a thing.”

Mother did not calm down. “A gentleman? He’s a scoundrel and you know it! He’s just like his father. A good-for-nothing who took advantage of his mother and abandoned her before she gave birth. It’s a blessing she died young, so she didn’t have to live with the shame of it all.”

“He’s not a scoundrel! Ben is a good person!”

“Why are you so quick to defend this boy?”

“He’s my friend.”

“I think he’s more than that. Has this boy tampered with your innocence?”

Maia rolled her eyes. “No.”

Mother bent down, bringing her eyes level with Maia’s. She stared hard at her. “Have you let this boy touch you?”

She didn’t look away, and hesitated only a second. “No.” Maia’s heart thumped like a stone against her sternum.

Taking a deep breath, Mother stood straight. “I’m not sure I believe you. But, at any rate, things are going to change.”

“What do you mean?”

“You may set out dinner now, while we eat, we’ll discuss your future.”

Maia stood slowly. There were too many thoughts to choose from. Her future? She mechanically took the roast and potatoes from the oven. Her hands shook as she carved the meat. She set the plates and silverware on the table, trying hard not to clang them together. She was afraid to look at her mother. But, she felt eyes watching her. After she poured them each a glass of milk, she returned to her seat.

“I thought we were having peas?” Mother asked.

“Yes, sorry.” Maia jumped from her chair, and retrieved the peas from the refrigerator.

Once they were both seated Mother bowed her head and said grace. Then, she plucked her napkin from the table and draped it across her lap. She loaded her plate modestly. Maia was too nervous to eat, but took food anyway. There was a fight coming, and she didn’t want to appear weak or afraid. So she ate steadily.

After a few minutes Mother said, “We formed a new committee at church a few weeks ago.”

Maia had to clear her throat before she could respond. “Oh?”

“Yes. Just three other ladies and myself. It’s a temporary committee, and the task is almost complete. I only mention it because it involves you.”

Swallowing her lump of food, Maia asked, “How?”

“We’re finding you a husband.”

“You’re what?” her fork fell with a clank.

“Please don’t be so dramatic. It’s not that ridiculous. You’re old enough. A husband wants his wife young, so she can keep up with his children. I don’t really want you much older. Then you’d become undesirable. I’m not going to see you having to settle for a widower, or worse, a divorcé. You’ll be a good wife, if you follow all the guidance I’ve given you over the last twenty-two years. I want to see that you end up with a good husband. Now is the perfect time.”

“But, Mother-”

“We’ve found a few candidates. A few from town, you’ve seen them in church. Mrs. Donahue’s boy, Charles. A strapping man, with good genes and upbringing. He’s a bit old, though, may have some bad habits. I’m also considering Mrs. Brown’s youngest son, Emmett. Although, I have yet to ask her about him. There’s a young man in Traversville. Mrs. Wilcox used to give him piano lessons and is good friends with his mother. He’s very promising. He’s going to run the bank sometime in the next few years. Again, a bit old, but can you imagine! Being a banker’s wife! Quite a life you’d have with him. Let me see…”

“But what if-”

“Oh! That’s right. There’s a young pharmacist in Pleasant Junction. At least, he’s going to be a pharmacist. Still in school. A bit of a risk, but still a contender. He’d be able to take care of you nicely. He’s the college roommate of Mrs. Brown’s other son, Joshua. Of course, I considered Joshua, but then I learned he’s studying art. No daughter of mine is going to be the wife of a painter or the like.” She shook her head. “Despicable. At any rate, you should be pleased to know the committee is dedicated to finding the most suitable match for you. In fact, Mrs. Bradshaw (she’s on the committee) is insisting we inquire about her nephew. Her husband’s sister is visiting from down south a little ways, but returns home tomorrow evening. We’re meeting with her after church tomorrow. Mrs. Bradshaw didn’t give us much detail on the young man, but she did mention money. So, I figured he was worth a look.”

“Mother stop!” Maia shouted and leapt up from the table. “I don’t want to hear another word! Have you even thought to consider what I might want?”

“Don’t raise your voice to me,” Mother said, calm but direct. “My patience is thin with you this evening. I don’t suggest you continue in this manner.”

“Your patience is thin? My patience is thin! My whole life you’ve chosen everything for me. Every last detail! Shouldn’t the man I marry be my choice? I’m the one who has to live with him!”


“I may not want to marry at all! I could go to college. I could have a career. I may want to run away and join the circus!”

“Maia -”


Mother was silent.

“I realize you only want what’s best for me,” Maia went on, trying to regain control of herself. She unclenched her fists. Folding her hands neatly she said, “But, you can’t choose for me. Not this time.”

“Are you finished?” her mother asked.

“For the moment…”

Mother set her napkin on the table. She slowly stood. “Let me make myself perfectly clear, Maia. You don’t get a choice. You will be a wife. That’s what God has intended for you. You will serve your husband and obey him. You will bear him as many children as he sees fit. You will raise them with a heavy hand, and you will raise them to fear God. That is your lot.” She took a deep breath, “I don’t know what happened today that changed you, but it has only convinced me that the time for you to marry is now.”


“You will say nothing more tonight. You will clean up your dishes, and go to bed. I am ashamed to be your mother, and I will not lay my eyes upon you a moment longer. Now, go.”

Maia silently followed her orders. Shaking, she set her plate in the sink. She dumped her milk down the drain. Then, she made her way to her room. As she reached for the knob Mother had one last word.

“Maia,” she said. “You will never see Ben Swallow again.”