Are writers born or are we made? Writing is a compulsion for me. It’s something I did long before I had an agent, because I enjoy it. It feels like a release. I also enjoy creating something out of nothing. I imagine it’s a similar feeling that craftspeople have when they work on a piece and watch it take shape.
I was pondering this question while looking at family photos. The living room of my parents’ house was overshadowed by bookshelves. Here’s a glimpse. That’s my dad with our dog. The photo only shows half the bookcase. It was so large, I don’t think there’s a single photo that shows the whole thing. My dad built the shelves when we moved in and my parents filled them through library book sales, garage sales, gifts, and, of course, book stores. There were titles from a variety of genres but my dad was partial to thrillers and history. My mom enjoyed memoir. My brother liked horror. I would read pretty much anything put in my hands but I loved mysteries. By the time I moved out, I’d read nearly every book on that wall. It was kind of a family competition.
Thinking about it now, there’s a strong connection between what I grew up reading and what I now write. Did my family influence my love of the written word? Absolutely. But I also recall writing mysteries from an early age, hoping to entertain my parents. So which came first, nature or nurture? I honestly don’t know. Why not both?