I didn’t set out to write out a book about bog bodies or werewolves or romance or mythology or super soldiers. In fact, I never expected I’d be a writer. When I was a kid, I wanted to work in television and film production so I could create stories like those I saw on TV—and I did, for a while. But there was something missing for me, and I found myself picking up a pen and paper whenever I could, jotting down snippets of stories or descriptions of people I saw on the streets. I didn’t know why. I just felt compelled to do it. When I took a step back I realized my life-long love of books, not TV, inspired my passion for storytelling. I wanted to create stories from nothing and mold them into something wonderful.
Growing up, I loved going to the library and checking out piles of books to read. If the library didn’t have a limit on how many I could check out at once, I would have filled the car, if my mom would have let me, which I’m sure she wouldn’t have. My brother had to sit somewhere, right?
I’d come home from the library, spread the books across the floor, examine the book covers, and figure out which order to read them. It was really hard. I mean really hard. I wanted to read them all at once. Those pages magically transported me to another world. And I couldn’t wait to go there.
I loved Encyclopedia Brown books, Little House on the Prairie, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, anything written by Judy Bloom, and so many others, basically anything I could get my hands on. I’ll never forget reading How to Eat Fried Worms; the thought of eating worms grossed me out (it still does), but I read the book at least three times, fascinated with the story. Books taught me new things, took me to new places, and exposed me to new situations that I might not otherwise have encountered in real life. They still do. And when I go into the library or the bookstore, I get excited. I can’t help it. There are so many great books to explore. If only I had time to read them all.
At some point, I picked up a pencil and imagined all the words the pencil could write, all the stories it could create. I realized it wasn’t the pencil writing those stories, but still…if I could do that, write a book like the ones I loved, that would be incredible. I thought about all the authors I’d read, how they created wonderful stories from their imaginations. To me, that was the ultimate achievement, something I aspired to accomplish. So I started writing, hoping to create stories like the ones I loved.
For me, writing is fun, just like reading. There’s something special about putting words together to make something new; taking characters I’ve invented, putting them into a situation and seeing how they’ll react; finding out if they’ll live up to my expectations; seeing if they’ll succeed. When I write, I can’t wait to see how things will things turn out, just like I couldn’t wait to read all those books when I was younger. The anticipation, the not knowing—it kills me.
I love to read in many genres—young adult, thriller, middle grade, suspense, non-fiction, just about anything that grabs my interest. If I don’t have a pile of books waiting to be read, I feel unsettled, like I need to run out and get more, because we all need a good book to read, right?
JANICE GABLE BASHMAN is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Predator (coming September 16, 2014; Month9Books) and Wanted Undead or Alive with New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry (Citadel Press, 2010). She is editor of The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers’ magazine) and has written for leading publications, including Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and Wild River Review. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies and magazines. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.