Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | August 3, 2012

Is it a Passion or a Joy to write? By Marian Lanouette

With me it’s both. From an early age, reading took me away to places I knew I’d never see and people I’d never get to meet.

As one of ten children raised in a five room apartment, reading provided an escape that to this day still whisks me away to faraway place; and introduces me to puzzles that need to be solved.   During my Clara Barton days I wanted to be a nurse. I fell in love with the Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew made me want to be a detective and on and on it went. If only for a few hours or a few days a week, I could be anyone I wanted to be, thanks to the magic of books.

My passion for reading grew as I grew, not only was I reading mysteries, I started reading autobiographies, human interest stories and the daily newspaper before I was seven. My thirst for knowledge expanded with my most precious gift—my library card. My imagination also grew and I started to express myself in poems and short stories. I never kept a diary but I did keep a journal of stories and poems.

As a child I went out of my way to keep the peace, so I held my thoughts and opinions to myself. Writing became very cathartic for me. Here on the pages in front of me I could vent, I could create and I could dream. Yes, I owned the worlds I created. And what worlds they were. I traveled the globe and saved the world or I met the handsome prince (I did years later and married him) and live-happily-ever after. If my imagination could create it—I could live it.

So I ask today, how did you get interested in reading and writing? And when did you put your first words on the paper?

That very day you became a writer.

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Responses

  1. Hi Marian. I began writing when I was about 8 years old. I spent my summers sitting with my best friends writing stories. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Like you, I read Nancy Drew, but I didn’t discover romance novels until I was much older. After reading “The Flame and The Flower” I was hooked. For me writing is a passion and a joy. I honestly can’t imagine a life without writing. My only regret is not trying my hand at writing a novel many years ago.

    • I agree, Gerri. And I can’t wait for your book A Pirate Ransom to come out. Good luck with it.

  2. I started to love reading when my mother gave me a very dirty Jackie Collins book when I was 13. I’ve been a fiction junky since then. I started writng my senior year of college when my brain wouldn’t allow the stories to just sit in my head any longer.

    • I know, Jamie, they do fight to get out our heads don’t they? Congratulations on your new contract, I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

  3. My first “book” was written in pencil on notebook paper. I drew my own cover and bound it with red ribbon. I might have been 7 or 8 at the time. From the time I was very young, I had my imagination to keep me company. If I had my head in a book, I could travel to other worlds and other times. Since I’ve always loved to ‘create’, it seemed only natural from time to time to take pencil and paper and put down my own stories. Like Gerri, I’m only sorry I didn’t get serious about writing sooner. I didn’t finish my first book until my children were grown, but once I did, I’ve never stopped, and I’ve never looked back.

    I enjoyed reading your blog, and I think it’s a great idea for each of us to stop and think about these things from time to time.

    • Thank you, Susan. My father pushed me toward accounting because he said a person couldn’t make a living at writing. Very practical my parents were. It wasn’t until I was laid off a couple of years ago that I decided to follow my dream and finish my books I had in progress. So glad I did with two contracts under my belt, I’m realizing the dream.

  4. When I was 12, I was in a full body cast for nine months, and knew I had to do something or I’d go crazy. I turned to writing at that time. I entered a contest in the local newspaper and won. The rules of the contest were we had to use the phrase “How’d you get that thing around your neck?” so I wrote about Tom Dooley’s hanging. Then, I wrote a screenplay for Bonanza, which resulted in my first-ever rejection letter. But, the writers were kind, so I kept on, but didn’t piece together that I was meant to spend most of my life writing historicals set in America. That process took me a lot longer, but I’m glad I’m here now.

    • Congratulations on the win, Becky. I got star struck at an early age also. A nun sent one of my poems to the local newspaper and as they say, the rest is history

  5. I got hooked on reading in third grade, and by the end of the year I was devouring books. I didn’t start writing, though, until a good friend joined our high school’s French magazine and persuaded me to join as well. I didn’t start writing fiction, however, until around 2006. While I’d told myself stories for years, up that point it hadn’t occurred to me to write them down.

    • And from what I’ve read great stories too, Margaret. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi Marian. I’m not sure when I started reading. Before starting school, anyway. By the time I was in college, I lived in my books. Easier and much more pleasant than living life in person. When I was struck with an obsession to write, it was fond memories of books like Pollyanna and The Secret Garden that made writing a joy.

    • Lianne, I loved The Secret Garden. My husband always says, “Your nose in a book again.” I just smile and nodded, can’t lose my place can I? Glad you stopped by today.

  7. Marian, when I was a teen, I imagined that the people in the book only came to life when I read it and when I put the book down, they were frozen at that moment until I started reading again. I always hated to put the book down unless things were quiet, because I didn’t want them to have to wait for a resolution when things were tense.

  8. I began to read when I was 2, thus have over fifty years in which to enjoy a great many books. I read constantly, even in school, when I should have been listening, I had a book under my desk and I was reading. But the teachers tolerated that because I kept my grades up lol I started to write about the age of 9, inspired by a story the teacher was reading to us. I wanted to create my own world and my own characters. And I’m still doing that to this day, even if the stories have changed over the years. For the better, I hope lol

    Great post, Marian! Love your books! :)

    • So funny, Julie, and I love your books and short stories. My college lit professor was funny. I did a novella for my final project. It was a historical romance and he told me great story but add some more action. Because you’re not Virginia Woolf. So first I went out and bought a by Woolf then took his advice and added action.

  9. I began reading at an early age and used to read with a flashlight under the covers when I was about 5 years old. I was given a whole set of Nancy Drew so I read them all and continued on as you did Marian to Clara Barton and eventually gravitated to romances. I read some pretty heavy duty novels too like 1984 and Animal Farm at a young age. In third grade I started to think writing had value and had a poem I wrote published in the School District Newsletter. Then writing became a chore and though I kept a diary for most of my teens, I didn’t really write anything until I fell in love and started writing poetry. Then my poems got more intense, but still I only showed them to very good friends. I wrote when I was inspired and writing was a passion for me. Later, I honed my craft with several workshops and took my Masters in Reading and Writing where I learned more about writing process. I wrote my first novel during that time and it was a middle grade fantasy, which I sent around and it got rejected. So I gave up on it and then reignited my passion for writing prose during my graduate work, publishing two stories. I wrote my novel If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor also during my graduate work and I realized I loved writing and it was like a spigot was opened and I couldn’t stop!! There isn’t a week goes by when I don’t write something new, either a story or a poem. As I say in my bio, writing is my life!! Great blog, Marian!!

    • Thank you so much for visiting, Barbara. Folks I was honored last week to win a copy of Barbara’s latest If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. I have to tell you it pulled me in right from the very beginning. I look forward to reading more works from you Barbara.

      I’m was absolutely thrilled with when Susan Hanniford Crowley and Gerri Broussau two great writers invited me to write here every Friday. And I am loving it and the people, readers, and writers I get to meet every week. Happy Writing Everyone!

  10. Hi Marian, much like you, I grew up in a large, crowded family, where emotions were not expressed and words were not heard. I too read and wrote stories at an early age, falling in love with the freedom to travel the globe in my imagination and be in someone else’s world for a little while. i didn’t decide to write toward publication until i was 40. It’s taken almost eight years, but I’m here, publishing my fourth book in September, and still finding joy in the make-believe worlds that my mind so readily constructs. Writing is truly an amazing pursuit. Thanks for sharing your journey. I admire your passion and commitment to making your voice be heard.

    • Thank you, PJ. You know I’m a fan of your books and I look forward to your newest one in September. I always encourage children to use their imaginations. I believe too often they’re told to stop dreaming. Where would the world be without the stories!

  11. I was a late bloomer! My right and left side of my brain conflict with each other so I studied Biomedical Engineering and always loved science and math. At the age of 30 (after college, jobs, kids etc) I fell in love with writing. I feel my engineering background really aids in world building and finding plot holes. I usually “map” out a book very carefully before I start writing. I am also a linier writer, meaning I start from the first sentence to the last. I can’t write anything out of order in the first draft. Of course changes are made later, but it’s just my way and it seems to work for me.


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