Books that inspire writers to write

Writers are always readers first.  Novelists write fiction because they love stories and story telling.

At the foremost of these stories is the Odyssey.  It has everything action, adventure, humour and romance.  Most of all it has a fallible hero who is up against it.  I read it many times as a teenager and in my early twenties.  I have lost count how many times but it must be at least twenty years since I last read it.  I will read it again but as I get older I realise there are so many wonderful tales waiting to be read and enjoyed.

The first book I remember reading that was not a picture or comic book was “The Dog Caruso and his Master” by R. M Ballantyne.  I found it in the library at Hanham Church Primary School when I must have been nine or ten years old.

At the time westerns were the most popular genre for small boys on TV and Saturday morning cinema.  I played cowboys and Indians with my brother, sisters and friends, on my own or with toy model figures.  My imagination was often in the Wild West.

Popular on TV at that time was Champion the “Wonder Horse; a series about a boy, his cowboy uncle, his dog and the magnificent wild stallion he befriended.  Therefore it was easy for Ballantyne’s story about Dick, his bold Newfoundland dog and tamed mustang to hold me entranced.  I knew then that I wanted to know about more adventures.  I wanted to live them myself and if I could not do that I would make them up.

Keith Jahans

Editor, Peatmore Press

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