Writers often say they write because they must and observe that writing is a solitary activity, but we wondered if somewhere along the line, who, if any person, played a large role in the various Stiletto Gang members becoming writers.Sparkle Abbey:
Mary Lee Woods: My mother was my greatest influence in my becoming a writer. She read often and widely and instilled a love of reading in me. When I picture her, from when I was small until just before her death at 92, she was often curled up with a book. And most likely a mystery. She was an Agatha Christie fan, but also loved many contemporary mystery authors and always looked forward to a new book from Dick Francis. One of my favorite childhood memories is our weekly trips to the public library to browse the stacks and to pick up books for the week. It was there that I discovered Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and ultimately Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. The love of a good story eventually led me to the desire to try my had at writing.
Anita Carter: Probably my husband. He pushed me and encouraged me to do it. He’s my biggest cheerleader.Kay Kendall: I cannot point to one person who influenced me to become a writer—of fiction, that is. I can tell you who I should’ve paid attention to much sooner, and that is my own mother. Because she said writing was my gift, she kept wanting me to study journalism in college. I wouldn’t listen to her, and probably her pushing kept me away from that major. But I wanted to learn so much in the liberal arts curriculum, so I don’t regret doing that, but I do regret coming so late to a fiction writing career. The book world was so much healthier earlier.
Juliana Aragon Fatula: Mrs. Durbin my junior high English teacher. I learned from her because I
J.M. Phillippe: Mrs. Smisko, my fifth and sixth grade teacher, who used to always nominate me for writing rewards. I had vague ideas of wanting to be a writer before tha, but my time with her really cemented the idea in my head.
Linda Rodriguez: Probably Charles Dickens. I read A Tale of Two Cities when I was eight years old and fell in love with the way a writer could bring a whole world to life. I knew I wanted to do that myself.
Dru Ann Love: As I’m not a writer, my mother showed me the love of reading.
T.K. Thorne: Definitely my Granny. She read to me as a child, introducing me to the wonder of words and stories.
Shari Randall: So many teachers have been wonderfully supportive of my writing, but there was a moment when I was working at my hometown newspaper that really turned a lightbulb on for me and made me think of myself as a writer. I started out as the newsroom assistant, typing articles for some of the reporters (yes, it was eons ago) and writing wedding announcements (“Grace Episcopal was the setting for the afternoon wedding of …” you get the drift). A few weeks after I started, the owner of the paper needed someone to write a feature about modern weddings for an advertising supplement. After my story ran, several of those hardboiled reporters came over, shook my hand, and said it was the best thing that had ever run in the paper. I remember being stunned. These guys lived to bust each others’ chops and they’d busted mine plenty, so their words struck a chord.
Bethany Maines: My college roommate and long-time friend (and fellow Stiletto Blogger) J.M. Phillippe really inspired me to actually turn my hobby into a serious passion. She walked me through the idea of writing long form and has constantly helped me improve skills. Her impact on my writing cannot be overestimated.
Judy Penz Sheluk: My husband, Mike. He bought me a creative writing course for my birthday about 15 years ago and said, “It’s time for you to follow your dream.” He’s still my first beta reader, and biggest believer.
Debra H. Goldstein: My father taught me to love words and the beauty of expression.