Friday, March 11, 2011

Who is your literary Hero?


         When I was a little girl I was abused physically, mentally and emotionally by my stepmother, and sexually by her son. As soon as I was able to read I escaped from them by following my imagination into books.
Books have always been part of what makes me who I am. When I found out I could write my own books, I decided that was the path for me. I wanted a chance to give some of the same help I got from books. Unaware of how to start I sought guidance from the very people who started me on this quest in the first place, the authors of the very books I had been reading, which brings me to the point of all of this rambling about my past. When asked; Who is your Literary Hero? I would, with-out hesitation, reply Dean Koontz.
         Why? Well, when I was eleven years old I was taken out of my stepmothers care and one of my new friends saw I was feeling sad so she, loaned me her copy of Phantoms. From page one I was hooked and instantly compelled to read all of his work. This continued into high school. I was ecstatic when one day my English teacher asked us to give a brief history of our favorite author and then write a short story in their style.  I,  of course, had no trouble deciding who it would be and went right to work. I did all my research and tried to find out as much as I could about him. In those days the internet was in its infancy and there were not many ways to get to know someone famous. Unlike today there was no  deankoontz.com .My teacher suggested I write to his publisher and see if they could forward a letter to him.  I did this but did not receive any reply. Disappointed but not deterred, I did the best bio that I could with what little information I could find. Then I wrote the first chapter of my story in his style. I even wrote it on a legal pad with a number 2 pencil just like he does.  You can read what I came up with here!
      This story of hero worship does not end there ,though. Two weeks before graduation I received a strange package in the mail. To my surprise two years after my original letter was sent I got a signed copy of a Dean Koontz Companion and a news letter with a really nice note stating that I did not specify who the letter was for so it got lost in the shuffle of the other mail. To a girl who thought that no one cared for her having her hero write  her and tell her to keep the faith was like a hand up out of a deep dark hole. Now that I am all grown up and have a family of my own I still love Dean Koontz much to the teasing of my family. When we go to book stores they always pick up one of his books and say "Hey isn't this the guy you like?" I have a collection of his hardback books that take up a whole bookshelf. There is currently one on the back of the toilet I am in the middle of reading. I also listen to an audio book when I am busy doing other things. So hands if asked who is my literary hero. I would most definitely say it is and will always be Dean Koontz.
            That said however, I think that my new friend and author Devin O'Branagan is a close second. I met her in a Basset Hound forum where she came to do research on a new novel. Since then I have reviewed two pre-reader copies of her novels and we are friends on Facebook, and twitter. She has been very encouraging telling me to keep writing when I felt down and untalented.  I have even signed up on her website and  have found myself drawn to her flash fiction contests. Even when I don't think I could possibly write anything about the current topic for some reason I am compelled to please her and I find that I can write almost anything. Devin has an understanding of faith that makes you believe anything could be possible. So Dean Koontz will always be my first love but he will have to share a bit of my heart with Devin.
             There other authors who have inspired and thrilled me over the years to, name a few  Cynthia Voigt, Nicholas Sparks, Johnny Gruelle, Richard J. Margolis,and James Patterson.
I just hope that one day I could be half as good as the above people I have mentioned so that I can fulfill my dream of helping some other child who needs an escape.