Skip to main content

When I think back on my first short story or even my first novel, there was a story in my mind I needed to put down on paper. But it was more than just that. I was 16 years of age when I began writing and I had just finished reading Les Miserable by Victor Hugo. I was so engrossed in the story and its characters. To this day it is one of my favorite books. As I finished reading, I wondered if I could ever write that way. Bring to life a story that would endure time. And so my first story was created. It was called “Times Past”.

“There is no single reason anyone becomes a writer, and yet for so many authors, there are distinct moments in their lives when they realized they had stories they wanted to tell. For many, these moments come when reading the kind of books that provoke, disturb, and inspire—the kind of books that make us marvel and wonder if we too can inspire that sort of reaction in someone else someday.” “I remember… thinking, man, writing a story like this has to be the best job in the world.”

Quoted from the article entitled “25 Writers On The Books That Inspired Them To Write” By Kristin Iversen The following authors were influenced by their favorite books and authors as given by Kristen Iversen.

The following authors were influenced by their favorite books and authors as given by Kristen Iversen.


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas was a novel that showed me how immersive fiction can be. Sometimes, I would look up from the pages of the revenge tragedy and be surprised to find myself in 20th-century Lagos, instead of 19th-century Paris. I took that book everywhere with me. It made me want to build a world as compelling, with words as my only tools. —Chibundu Onuzo, author of Welcome to Lagos.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre, more than any book I’ve ever read, made me both want to be a writer and it made me aware of a world where arts can be labored over, learned, and fetishized in a way which is creative and ultimately self-satisfying. Jane’s world is populated from the first pages with books—she describes specific books, the pictures in them—with paper, and pens, with drawing materials, and Jane’s story for me, has always mostly been one of a young woman working ceaselessly to attain mastery. Mastery over herself and her work, and though I’ve read plenty of books since where narrative value is placed on self-reliance and hard work, the way that Charlotte Brontë deploys these basic values as specifically important to the creative lives of women was, for me, the match that lit the flame. —Laura June, author of Now My Heart Is Full.


Little Women by Louise May Alcott

At least twice a year, from childhood through high school, I read Little Women, inspired by the character Jo March, who determined her own fate by writing and selling fiction. We were both strivers: mine that of a Chinese immigrant families, Jo’s born out of fallen fortunes. We were outsiders, too: My family was among a handful of Chinese Americans in the suburbs east of San Francisco, and Jo was a whistling tomboy among her ladylike sisters. In her, I found a mirror, even though we didn’t share the same face, place, or era. She was proof that a bookish but feisty girl like her—like me—could get published someday. In rereading Little Women, I’ve found it to be more sanctimonious than I remembered, but it doesn’t change its impact, how it made me feel at more at home because I recognized a character who shared my dreams and ambitions. What I held onto was what I need to make my way in the world. —Vanessa Hua, author of the forthcoming A River of Stars.


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

In the fourth grade, I discovered Anne of Green Gables and promptly fell in love. I was a voracious reader before then, but this was the first book where I felt deeply connected to the main character. Anne was independent, intelligent, funny, and complex. Reading about her made me want to write my own stories with my own female characters (ones who looked more like me physically), who would have their own adventures. —Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me.


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The book that made me want to be a writer was Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. I immediately identified with the young orphan, Pip, and his dreams of rising above his humble station. Now, some three decades later, I can easily point to the themes that struck me then and have carried over into my own writing—social class, alienation, wealth, ambition… Not to compare myself with Dickens, but, you know, I have always had pretty great expectations for myself. —Camille Perri, author of When Katie Met Cassidy.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The book that made me want to be a writer is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which stars a girl named Francie Nolan, who grew up hardscrabble and dirt-poor in early 21st-century Brooklyn. Francie’s favorite teacher told her that in life, she should tell the truth of the way things happened, but that in the stories she wrote, she could write life the way it should be. Francie took that advice to heart, and I learned from her. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn showed me that writing was a way to translate and transcend the wrenching experience of living, especially as a female, and I needed that. — Alison McGhee, author of What I Leave Behind.

Katherine Korkidis

Author Katherine Korkidis

More posts by Katherine Korkidis

Leave a Reply