Interests and fascinations in one's life generally have roots in something. I didn't wake up one day and shout from my rooftop: "I'm going to be a paranormal romance writer!" If I'd done that, my neighbours might have called the cops. My section of town is pretty quiet.

Books inspired me. And isn't that how it should be, for writers? We read something and it triggers within us a desire to create.

Which books? These ones...

Science Fiction and Fantasy
I remember discovering the sci-fi/fantasy genre when I was about 11. Oh, I was in heaven. If you have budding sci-fi readers in your house, you might want to check out:
  • Mail Order Wings by Beatrice Gormley: (from Amazon) "In Mail-Order Wings, nine-year-old Andrea orders wings--guaranteed to fly!--through an ad in her comic book. Incredibly, they work. This is the beginning of her exciting and disturbing adventures with the wings, culminating in a long flight and a difficult decision."
  • Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce: (from Amazon) "Jan, the prince of the unicorns, is high-spirited, reckless--and the despair of his mighty father, Korr. Reluctantly, Korr allows Jan to accompany the other initiate warriors on a pilgrimage. Soon Jan's curiosity leads him, along with his friend Dagg, and their mentor, the female warrior Tek, into the greatest dangers--deadly gryphons, sly pans, wyverns, pards, and renegade unicorns. Yet time after time they are rescued, leading Jan to wonder: Am I the heir to a special destiny?" And in doing this post, I just discovered this was the first book of a trilogy! Time to order me some books...
  • The Isis Trilogy by Monica Hughes: This was the first series I ever read about colonizing a planet and it really stuck with me, especially the second book.
I discovered the paranormal during my teens (who doesn't?) and found it even more intriguing than the fantasy/sci-fi books I'd been reading. Maybe because the paranormal genre tends to happen in the "real world".
  • Remember Me by Christopher Pike: (from Amazon) "Shari is dead, and she knows that she didn't kill herself. So rather than merging with the cosmos as other spirits do, she lingers near the world of the living, determined to find her murderer. ..." Yes, it's a Christopher Pike book, but it stuck with me. It's not a happy book. I mean, the MCs are dead through the whole thing, so there isn't going to be a happily ever after, not really.
  • The Third Eye by Lois Duncan: (from Amazon) "High school senior Karen, who worries that her psychic powers will make her seem different from other people, is frightened at first when a young policeman asks her to use her gift to help the police locate missing children."
  • The Diana Tregarde Investigates series by Mercedes Lackey: (from Amazon) "Diana is a Guardian charged with saving innocents and destroying evil wherever she finds it. Because if she doesn't, evil will find her--and kill her first." Unfortunately, Mercedes Lackey left this series a little open and never wrote another book due to some wackos with the misconception that her books were real, which was bad enough...but apparently she and her family also received death threats.
Like a lot of people, I turned up my nose at the romance genre way back when. I mean, with books like V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic, how could you take it seriously? (Even though I read almost the whole series. It was like a terrible addiction to me and my pre-teen friends.) (And, on a side note, V.C. Andrews died in 1986...and yet her books keep coming out. I hope I have that kind of longevity.) My mom actually got me more interested in romance about ten years ago, or maybe a little less, by lending me some amazing books.
  • Phantom Waltz by Catherine Anderson: (from Amazon) "Handsome rancher and reputed rake Ryan Kendrick and the beautiful paraplegic Bethany Coulter seem an unlikely couple, but, after one date and a passionate kiss, Ryan can't stop thinking about Bethany. ..." This was the first romance I read with less-than-perfect MCs and it was engrossing. I highly recommend this and Annie's Song, a historical about a woman who is deaf, but whom everyone thinks is mentally challenged.
  • The Irish Trilogy (starting with Jewels of the Sun) and the Born In Trilogy (starting with Born In Fire) by Nora Roberts: These two trilogies were the first Nora Roberts books I'd ever read, and they continue to be some of my favourites. With just a splash of magic to them, they are great examples of what romance trilogies can be.
Okay...and considering my WIP is a superhero romance, this list wouldn't be complete without mentioning a comic book. I adored Power Pack. (Still do.) I was the perfect age to enjoy Power Pack during its run in the 1980s, and the idea of four kids with superpowers resonated with me. Who wouldn't want to be able to fly or disintegrate things or float or turn into a cloud? When I had a little more disposable income, I hunted down the series...every issue except the Christmas Special that ended the run. I need to get on eBay...

While I see what exorbitant prices they're charging for childhood nostalgia online, tell me: what are some of the books that inspired you to write?

Happy writing!