Honestly, I'm not sure if I really have any "major" influences. I'm not really sure what really got me into the writing scene. Even though I would write a story every once in a while when I was a kid, I never really once said or thought about becoming a writer.
Back in second grade, the teacher had the whole class do creative writing assignments and I just LOVED doing those. We also did some writing in third and fourth grade. In fourth grade, the teacher had us write a story every week and read it out loud to the class.
Fifth through seventh grade, I had started to write just one story a year. I would get some kind of idea in my head for a teeny bopper story. I kind of hated writing them because it would take too long for me to write! I thought it would be so fun writing my ideas down on paper and making a story, I just didn't like doing it. Guess I just wasn't as patient back then as I am now.
Eighth grade I got into the poetry scene. I had two or three of my poems published in our local newspaper in the kids section.
Then my Sophmore year in high school I started entering poems in poetry contest. I did have some published. They were also posted on poetry.com ( the site no longer exists) under the name Mindy A. Clark. I had to add my middle initial because there's other people who share my name.
Senior year I wrote a couple of plays for drama class. Our first writing assignment was to take any nursery rhyme and turn it into a script, but I chose to write something of my own. The name of it was called Crazy Kids. I also did a spin off and it was called Crazy Teenagers. I wrote that one for our second writing assignment, which was basically to just write a script about anything we wanted.
After high school, I wasn't sure where my life was going to go. I still continued on writing a little bit of poetry every once in a while. It wasn't until the year 2001 when I got back into the short story scene.