Be on the lookout for her next Sam McRae novel, LEAST WANTED, which will be published soon (in print and ebook versions).Debbi practiced law for nine years before becoming a freelance writer/researcher and fiction author. She’s also worked as a news wire reporter covering the legal beat in Washington, D.C. and as a reference librarian at the Federal Trade Commission. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats.You can find out more about Debbi on her Website and her blog My Life on the Mid-List. Her books are available on Amazon, BN.com, Lulu.com, Smashwords and other sites around the Web, and by order at stores. You can also buy autographed copies of her novel from her Web site at http://www.debbimack.com/identitycrisis.
Question 4: What books did you like to read as a child?
Before I answer that, let me take a moment to thank my hosts, the fine ladies of Paperback Dolls for letting me be a guest on this blog.
Now, I read a great many books growing up. I started off loving books like Curious George (who doesn’t love a cute monkey and a mysterious man in a yellow hat?), Dr. Seuss (green eggs and ham, anyone?) and The Little Train That Could (who isn’t moved by that inspirational story?). I also vaguely recall a book about a letter traveling through the mail. It was sort of like The Red Violin, except with a letter traveling by mail. Wish I could think of the name, but it’s vanished from memory.
One of my standout favorites was Babar the Elephant. Despite the fact that Babar’s mother died (why do children’s stories so often involve a mother’s death?), he went on to succeed and become King of the Elephants. He found the love of his life (his cousin, Celeste – that’s considered okay for elephants LOL) and married her. The first book kicked off a series of books about the adventures of Babar the Elephant. Babar was a great example of how one can take a bad situation and turn it around. He was one of my earliest examples of taking lemons and turning them into the proverbial lemonade.
Another childhood favorite of mine was Pippi Longstocking. She was the first totally independent girl I’d read about. She was totally irreverent (without being outright gauche), she pushed the limits of respectability (without crossing the line), she was an iconoclast (without being outright hostile), and she lived by her own standards (instead of simply following the crowd). Pippi taught me that it was not only okay, but desirable, to be my own person. That I should embrace the eccentric and silly, not be hemmed in by convention. She also taught me the importance of self-reliance. (And where the heck did she get all those gold pieces, anyway? Um, don’t ask, don’t tell. LOL)
I was also quite fond of the Wizard of Oz series (no doubt, inspired to read it by the movie, which I watched on television each and every year).
Of course, no accounting of my favorite childhood books would be complete without a mention of Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames. I took to these books like a fish to water. (Ugh, sorry about the cliché, but that really sums it up.) Other than television and movies, these were probably among my first exposures to the mystery genre.
I assume everyone knows who Nancy Drew is. She was a teenage detective whose mother had died (here we go again with the dead moms – LOL). Her father was a lawyer (naturally) and her surrogate mother was their housekeeper, Hannah Gruen (wa-a-a-y too old to be a love interest for dad). Nancy went around solving mysteries everywhere (first, with Helen, then with Bess and George – I always kind of wondered whatever happened to Helen, anyway?), driving in her blue convertible (which, at some point, turned into a coupe – whatever). Nancy was an attractive blonde (who became “titian-haired” later – whatever LOL). Anyway, Nancy seemed to have a knack for finding mysterious situations to investigate and the inability not to investigate them. This inevitably led to trouble, but Nancy always found a way out of it.
As for the lesser-known Cherry Ames, she was a nurse who investigated mysteries. Except she did it in a series of nursing jobs. Poor Cherry. The woman could solve mysteries with no problem, but she couldn’t hold a nursing job to save her life. LOL
Needless to say, this led me to read other mysteries by authors like Agatha Christie, A. Conan Doyle and Erle Stanley Gardner. (The last one was due to watching Perry Mason on TV. I remember my first Perry Mason book quite clearly. It was the first book I’d ever read that had a cigarette ad in it.)
As I grew older, I graduated to more mature reads. When I was 14, I picked up Catcher in the Rye. I became smitten with Holden Caulfield. I felt like I’d met my soul mate. A person who hated the “phonies” of the world and just wanted to escape the “normal” world. (Imagine my shock when reading the book only 10 years later and realizing, “Hey, this guy’s not a role model. He’s got real problems.” LOL)
But one of my favorite childhood reads was Ferdinand the Bull. Ferdinand refused to fight like the other bulls. All Ferdinand wanted to do was sit and smell the flowers.
While the other bulls were busy fighting each other, Ferdinand refused to participate. Not that he was lazy or a coward. He was simply a bull with pacifist tendencies.
As the story goes, Ferdinand was selected as the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” for the bullfights in Madrid based on a complete misunderstanding (an ill-timed bee sting got him riled up, kicking and snorting). However, when Ferdinand was led into the ring, things turned out very differently than planned. When the ladies threw flowers to the matadors, he simply did his usual thing. He sat and smelled the flowers. And refused to fight.
Now, one could easily imagine this tale ending tragically. However, it didn’t. In the end, Ferdinand was put out to pasture. He got to spend his days doing what he loved. Sitting and smelling the flowers.
This story not only informed me about the practice of bullfighting, but it taught me a lesson about pacifism. I learned that it’s okay not to fight. Sometimes you can win by simply being yourself. Sometimes the best resistance is to be what you are without forcing your way on anyone else.
When I think about the books I read as a child, I realize that the ones that are most memorable either provided me a role model or taught me an important lesson.
And what could be better than that?
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Thanks for reading, everyone! Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address if you’d like to enter the drawing for the 10 autographed copies of IDENTITY CRISIS I’m giving away. (One entry per person, but comment as often as you like.)
The drawing will be held on my blog My Life on the Mid-List after the tour is finished. Check my blog for the entire tour schedule.
And please join me at my next stop tomorrow: Suspense Your Disbelief
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The Dolls would like to thank Debbi for stopping by during her blog tour – a pleasure to have you!