My Top Five Writing Influences (Melissa Robbins)

5.  Men in Uniform – Stop giggling.  It’s not what you think.  Okay, maybe a little, but I get so inspired when I read stories of the brave men and women who fought during WW2.  My Wren story came about when I read about wireless WAAFs in Scotland.  This dashing fellow is Sid, an amazing Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, who was an ace and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.  His ‘wolves’ were some of the best pilots in the war.  He crashed into the sea in 1943 soon after achieving the rank of Wing Commander.  Sid wasn’t married that I found, but I wonder if he had a girlfriend.  Was he ever in love with a pretty nurse or WAAF?  It’s those ‘what ifs’ that writers love so much. 

  4.  Bookstores – When I was a kid, my parents, avid readers, always took me to this amazing used bookstore called The Book Alcove.  The shelves were so chaotic, it was like a maze.  I LOVED it!  If you Google “Book Alcove” and Maryland, you’ll find a youtube video of the store and you will see what I mean.  Just imagine what it would be like as a child in that store.  Walking through a bookstore inspires me.  It's a shame so many stores are closing.  I see all those books and wonder if my book will ever grace those shelves.  I immediately want to rush home and work on my story. 

3.  Books – Reading as always inspired me to write.  After reading Treasure Island, I became obsessed with pirates.  In junior high school, I started, but never finished, a time travel pirate YA.  A critique partner thinks I should go back to it.  Who can resist a handsome young blond pirate?  What is it with me and blond heroes?!  I also wanted to write a sequel to Treasure Island where Long John Silver returns and drags Jim, a 20 something guy, back to the island for more treasure and adventure.  Of course, I’m  Annie, the granddaughter/niece/daughter of Captain Flint is Jim’s love interest, not that he could handle the fine American lady who hides pistols under her petticoats when she isn’t sneaking around in breeches and carrying a sabre.

In high school, I started reading Agatha Christie and my love for mysteries was born.  I created a Scottish whodunit with ghosts and a family curse.  Didn’t finish that one either.  :0( 

2.  My grandfather – Comer aka Papa Steve was an awesome man and I adored having him as my grandfather.  The grandkids enjoyed his silliness and loved it when his mischievousness got him ‘in trouble’ with my grandmother.  I imagine my love and obsession with WW2 and the 30’s and 40’s is from listening to his stories.  Papa Steve didn’t have to fight in the war.  He was so good at his job in a furniture factory that the government wanted him to stay, but Comer enlisted in the Army infantry anyway.  He fought in Italy for over a year before getting injured by shrapnel in the neck and sent home.  It’s funny to me how much Papa Steve, a blue-eyed, naughty, motorcycle riding, southern blond with a preference for brunettes is like my character, Jack.  (Not that my grandmother would have EVER rode his motorcycle.)  My grandfather even sent my grandmother coded messages using bible references.  My Jack would be impressed.

1.  My critique partners – As previously mentioned above, I wrote stories since childhood, but I never told anyone I was writing.  It was a secret passion of mine I kept hidden from the rest of the world.  I don’t think my parents even knew.  I became a MUCH better writer when I started showing my work to fellow writers who encouraged and helped me perfect the craft.


Joan Vincent said...

Very cool post, Melissa. I've this thing for men in uniforms also--only the uniforms are slightly more than a hundred years earlier! Can't wait to read your stories.

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks, Joan. Yeah, men in uniforms never goes out of style. ;0)

Reese Mobley said...

I think your post is awesome. Your passion for this generation really shines through your writing.I can't wait to read your first published book!

Penny Rader said...

Love your post, Melissa. Thanks for sharing about your grandfather. I can see the resemblance.

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks, Reese. I'm trying. :0/ Just haven't past that first big hurdle.

Thanks, Penny. I look like my grandfather and my dad. I spent my summers with my grandparents and all the old people would say, "You look just like Kenneth (my dad)!"