I was a night owl from a young age.
My mother kept me up late when I was a baby, so I could see my father after he got home from night school around ten. With three naps a day, what did it matter if I slept late? And seeing Daddy after he’d been at work all day, and in class all evening, was important!
That schedule would have been harder once I started school. Luckily, Dad had his law degree then and was home by dinner time. But still I lay awake in darkness for hours, waiting on sleep. And sleep was often long in coming. I needed entertainment. What did I do? Made up stories, of course.
I liked stories about families best. I created several imaginary ones inspired by the illustrations in the flower fairy books by Cicely Mary Barker. Incredible paintings, those! Large families pleased me most. So I imagined broods of five or eight or twelve children. And then devised adventures for them.
As I write this, I am struck by uncanny parallels within my first published novel: one family of five children, another of nine, and a prince who awakens in darkness. Were the seeds of Troll-magic planted so early? Maybe.
I turned out to be a voracious reader. Dr. Seuss and Babar were first favorites. Eager’s Half Magic and Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows followed.
I floundered for a year when nothing in the library pleased my taste. Then my fourth grade teacher read A Wrinkle in Time aloud to the class. That same year I discovered C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Ah! Science fiction and fantasy had been thin on the shelves in my school’s library, but the county repository was better stocked. And now I knew what to look for.
Did I know I was a writer-in-training? Not at all. But every writer needs to imbibe story, and I did. Not much output. The diary started at age ten lasted perhaps a month. The teen years yielded one short story written for French class (in French!) about a changeling traversing an alien labyrinth. But the input was . . . impressive? My teachers thought so, when faced by my book a day rate. It felt ordinary to me. School reading journals were a problem. They were geared toward summaries of a scene or two. That was fine for reading sessions in class, but once I got the book home, I finished it!
I journeyed on through The Dark Is Rising, Enchantress from the Stars, City of Lead and Gold, The Hobbit, The Zero Stone, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Have Space Suit – Will Travel, Nine Princes in Amber, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, The Silver Metal Lover, Dune, and Cuckoo’s Egg.
You would think my passion for story and my reverence for storytellers might have clued me in to my vocation. It didn’t, and I got lost traversing the maze out of childhood. And, yet, not wholly lost. Instinctually, almost without thought, I stayed close to the creative world: architecture, art galleries, adventure gaming, publishing, graphic design, and art direction all played their roles in my life.
Unknowingly, I was collecting the skills I would need as an indie author.
And here I am, stepping into the indie arena to write and publish for readers’ delight, your delight. Will my stories create a bridge across from my own reading rapture to yours? That’s my hope. I do write what I’d like to read.
My North-lands and the realms of myth and legend are my metaphor for enchantment – places where wonder still abides. Heroes and heroines depart the safe byways and dare peril, seeking freedom and magic, seeking more. I hope you enjoy your journey as you embark upon your own foray into my books.
Fair skies and fine fortune be yours, gentle traveler, gentle reader!
I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments of the blog posts
or by email at j (dot) neygrimm (at) yahoo (dot) com.
I look forward to hearing from you!