Flashback Friday: More Books That Inspire Me

Last Flashback Friday I talked about one of my first favorite authors, Edward Eager. This week I’m going to tell you about my very first favorite author.

When I was really young I didn’t really understand that books were written by authors. I just knew I liked the ones about fairies with the certain art on the cover or whatever. I never really understood the concept of an author until fourth grade.

In fourth grade, we read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan in my LEAP class.

That’s when I discovered that people can write different ways, some with more personality and humor than others. And that an author’s style of writing is usually consistant throughout their books, no matter what character they’re telling the story from. And I also discovered I loved Rick Riordan’s style.

He’s hilarious, full of personality, and his characters never seem to take life too seriously, even when they’re battling monsters and stuff. Yeah, they face dangerous things and get into dangerous situations, but somehow it’s okay.

The first book I ever read in it’s entirety in one sitting (that was longer than one of those fluffy pre chapter books they gave to third graders) was the sequel to The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters. I cried when I was done because I felt bad for skipping my homework to read a book (that wouldn’t be the last time that happened with a Riordan book).

Also while I was reading that I asked my mom what the word “disembowelment” meant and she almost made me stop reading the book (she was concerned what it was I was reading). I assured her it wasn’t actually a super violent book and I didn’t ask her any more vocab questions after that.

I LOVED the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan like I had never loved a series before. The covers of all of those books are falling off. I’ve read them a million times. The characters are like childhood friends of mine. I’ve grown up with Percy and Annabeth as they’ve grown up through the first, and later, the second series. My mom gives me a weird look whenever I express this to her, but Riordan’s characters feel like old friends.

I said I loved the series, really I should say I love it (present tense) because though his books are written at a reading level a little lower than mine, I still keep up with Riordan’s new stuff. Magnus Chase is pretty good, though nothing will ever come close to the awesomeness of Percy Jackson.

Honestly, the Percy Jackson series is why kids my age know so much about Greek mythology. It’s really helped in recent English classes.

So not only have Rick Riordan’s books made me a more enthusiatic reader, taught my younger self what an author really is, and given me some fictional life-long friends, his books have also indirectly influenced my writing.

While working on a re-write of a novel this summer, I noticed that my characters talk very similarly to Rick Riordan’s characters. They make little quips and jokes here and there, laugh with one another. It’s not obvious, but there’s a shadow of Riordan’s dialogue in the way I write mine. Reading and writing are interconnected, you know? You can’t do one without the other. And I know my love for Rick Riordan’s work will continue to influence my writing and my passion for storytelling.

Note: the picture above is half of the books on my desk, and the only reason there is no Rick Riordan present is because my younger sisters have been thoroughly enjoying them and haven’t given them back.

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