As a child, my first favorite literary characters were detectives. Child detectives. I wanted to be Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. I didn’t love the books for the esteemed literary merits. I loved them because I wanted to be those characters. I wanted to be smarter than them. Nancy was so clever. And she was kind.
Encyclopedia also shared those characteristics. He always put friendship first. He wanted to get the bad guy, not to punish him but to rid the world of cruelty and dishonesty.
These two teenage sleuths shaped my reading habits first, but they also were the essential ingredients to my writing. I don’t write mysteries today. In fact, I don’t read them anymore. What I read and what I write are stories with real characters. Stories with people who want the world to tilt more toward the good. My characters sense injustice, but they really want is to simply add more goodness to this world.
Life is a mystery, and we are its most important detectives. We are the heroes who see what’s wrong and seek to make it right.
Thank you Donald Sobel and Carolyn Keene (all of you!). You infused me with a love for reading, but mostly you inspired me to write stories with characters who care.
Who inspires you? Who are your childhood favorites? Share them here.