I've heard that reading and writing go hand in hand. If that's the case, I should be the most prolific writer in the history of the world! As a child I devoured every written word I could get my eyes on - even if it was only the back of a cereal packet.I've had many influences; among them would be Isaac Asimov, whose robot stories thrilled me as a youngster, and Stephen King, whose earlier novels accompanied me throughout my teenage years. My gruesome side is satisfied by true crime books (many thanks to Ann Rule, whose "Small Sacrifices" was one of the first books I read in this genre. After that experience, I was hooked.)
I would have to say that the major influence on my writing has been life experience. I've discovered that I really didn't know everything I thought I did when I made the choice to marry at 18. It was a learning experience, and gave me my oldest, beloved daughter, Sophie, an accomplished writer in her own right.My second marriage, to an American, brought me to the USA, and to a different culture with a different language and unfamiliar traditions. It's taken some time to integrate into that, but I'm getting there. We were blessed with two more children, Amy and Alex, who are a mine of inspiration for more humorous stories. (Sorry kids!)
After my second husband died of cancer at the age of 44, I met the love of my life and the man who's more like me than I am - only with different genitalia. We met online of all places, which is something I have always scoffed at as a ridiculous meeting ground. He's a gothic club DJ and writer as well as a notorious 80s kid, much like myself, and inspires and motivates me to write - as well as giving me an entire new subject to research: that of step-parenting and blended families. Robert Racek, DJ Azrael, whatever your name is today, you're the best influence a person could be under.
Our family is rounded out by one dopey cocker spaniel and seven cats - who have also been featured in essays. (No apologies to THOSE furballs though!)My experience with agoraphobia and panic disorder has given me an insight into the world of mental health and its treatments. It's also been the main catalyst for my writing career. When the world gives you lemons, you try your best to make lemonade, and hope that the world's thirsty enough to try it!