We studied quite a lot of books at school, but if I'm honest very few of them inspired me. My memories of school English Literature lessons are trying to understand Shakepeare and books that I generally found quite boring.
It was the school English visits and writing assignments that inspired me. I watched Romeo and Juliet (The Leonardo DiCaprio version) for my GCSE coursework and rather enjoyed it. We also went to see a rather shocking (for a niave teenage girl) version of the same play (think nudity). At another time we acted out A Midsummer Night's Dream.
I remember going to see authors. The most memorable of these was seeing Anthony Horowitz. Now before I tell this tale you need to know that I have a short left arm (it only grew to just past the elbow).
My school was lucky enough to go and listen to Anthony Horowitz talk about one of his latest books alongside several other local schools. I was really excited as I'd been reading some of his books at the time (actually one of these may have been assigned by the school, but I can't remember for sure). Being a young teenager this meant that me and my friends were in a rather silly mood. So, imagine the scene, several hundred young people packed together and listening with rapt attention to one of their favourite authors. At the end he starts to answer questions. "Would you ever give up writing?" one person asks. Mr Horowitz replies that he'd rather lose his left hand.
At which point my rather over-excited friend started nudging me, "put your hand up, go on". And so, a little embarrassed but over-excited myself, I raised my left arm.
Well, my memory is that Anthony Horowitz went puce. Poor man, I hadn't meant for him to be that embarrassed! At the signing of Groosham Grange he apologised profusely and I now have a very special signed copy.
What does this have to do with inspiring me you may ask. Well, having already made as much of a fool of myself as I could with Anthony Horowitz I didn't feel as nervous as I normal would writing to him. And so, a while later, I wrote to the author enclosing a story that I myself had written and asking if he had any tips. I may not have (yet) become the author I wished to be back then, but his reply did inspire me to never stop writing. So, without Anthony Horowitz I probably wouldn't be writing this here!
Have you ever written to an author?
Did you receive a reply?