Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Stoking the burner

Who sparked your younger self to love writing?

by Dietrich

It wasn’t a who, but a what. The love of writing came from the love of listening to stories at an early age. There were the bedtime fairy tales my mother read to me when I was a kid, a lot of Grimm’s tales in German. Later on, my kindergarten teacher, Miss Mitchell, read to the class at story time — stories that sparked my imagination before I could read on my own. Funny, I still remember a lot of those tales in vivid detail. 

Once I could read on my own, there were authors who stoked that love of books: Rudyard Kipling, James Fenimore Cooper, Roald Dahl, Dr. Suess, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carol.

In my teens, I read my way through the Hardy Boys, trading those hardcovers with friends at school. Then came the classics written by Mark Twain, S.E. Hinton, William Golding, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Harper Lee, Jack London, George Orwell, JD. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Edgar Allan Poe, and many more. 

I went through a western phase of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour before I bumped into the crime novels of Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, and George V. Higgins. These were some of the writers who inspired me to do more than just read. Still in my teens, I wrote a rough draft of a novel in longhand. Getting discouraged and distracted, I finally gave up on it, but in the back of my mind, I thought someday I was going to write a book like the crime novels I’d come to love.

I’ve never lost the love to read, and I still find inspiration in great novels. I just finished an ARC of Dana King’s latest crime novel, White Out, and it’s uplifting to read something so well-written by one of my writer pals. I also loved the new one by Don Winslow, City on Fire. Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen had me laughing cover to cover. These novels are top notch and highly recommended.

Outside the crime genre, I recently read Dragon Teeth, a tale set in the Wild West by Michael Crichton; Hero Found is a true story by Bruce Henderson, about the only POW who ever escaped a prison camp in the Laotian Jungles during the Vietnam War.  The Willow Wren is the latest by fellow ECW writer Philipp Schott, a tale of his own father’s survival in Nazi Germany, another great read. Irish Thunder by Bob Halloran is a biography about the life and times of famed and troubled boxer, Mickey Ward. And I just finished Beloved by Toni Morrison, an epic tale of a woman born into slavery, living with a past she can’t seem to escape. These are the kind of books that keep sparking my imagination and continue to inspire me to keep on writing. 

Coming June 7th. 


Brenda Chapman said...

Great post and love the title of your upcoming book - Congrats, Dietrich!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thank you, Brenda.