It seems to be a natural progression for a reader to want to become a writer. I am proud that I have achieved this goal, and that I remain consistently published which is no mean feat. To spend each and every day lost in books, fluttering through pages makes me so happy. I love my cosy little study and my personal library of books collected over many years.
As a child growing up, we didn't have much money. My dad was a redundant steel worker, struck down with unemployment in the recession of the 1980s. I got most of my books for birthdays and Yuletide gifts - they were a luxury to be treasured. I still feel this way about my books.
When I was a girl I made good use of the local library and it was from reading that most of my ambitions began to formulate in my mind. After stumbling across Judith Beresford's Jackie pony books I begged for riding lessons and I loved being out on horseback. The character of Beth in Little Women made me want to learn to play a piano, while Jo would feed my ambitions to write. Ballet Shoes for Anna set my heart racing and my feet longing for Pointe shoes and ballet school. Reading the Chalet School and Malory Towers series of books helped to make me more interested in my own school days... I even asked my parents if I could go to boarding school!
I can only imagine how bewildered my working class parents must have felt when their daughter felt the need for a pony, riding lessons, a piano and music tutor, ballet classes and boarding school. I aspired to live a completely different way of life to the one I was born into. My rather strict grandmother would even go so far as to confiscate books from me as a punishment because they gave me 'too many ideas'! Now that I am published and make my living as a writer, I do feel that I have proven that my ideas are in fact a good thing and that reading was never a 'waste of time'.
I suppose I regard books as a magical ticket to freedom and escape; without my early reading habits who knows if I would be published today? Who knows if I would have found my way to equestrianism, music and dance? Books opened up so many doors for me and I am sure it must the same for others too. With illiteracy a growing problem in society it worries me that some young people will have this door to personal aspiration forever closed to them. Books have always been an inspiration to me; they have shaped my adult life and in turn I hope my own writing has gone on to inspire other people too. For me reading and ambition cannot be separated; they go hand in hand, working in conjunction with one another to help a person grow and develop into a productive member of society. Without books I might not have developed my ability to make goals and achieve my ambitions. Without books I would be someone else entirely.
How have books shaped your ambitions and aspirations? How are they shaping your children?