Welcome back to Four Book Friday, a continuing series where writers and readers tell us about four books that changed their life! This week’s post comes from Jenny Kaczorowski, fellow Team Krista alum from the Writer’s Voice and one of the few people I know with a last name to rival my own! Here are the four books that changed her life!
I could happily write about the four most recent books I’ve loved (Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, One by Leigh Ann Kopans and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta) or the four series I love best (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Time Quartet by Madeline L’Engle, The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper and Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor), but thinking of influential books made me go back into my childhood and my earliest reading experiences. Here, in no particular order, is my list four books that impacted me as a reader and a writer.
1916 by Morgan Llywelyn – This is the novel that made me realize I didn’t like grown up books. My family is Irish and the Troubles have always fascinated me, so a story set around the Easter Uprising sounded perfect. I snatched it off the library shelf and read as fast as I could. That was twelve years ago and the only thing I remember about the book, other than the title, is a sex scene that described sperm sparkling on the love interest’s thighs. Gross.
After that, I kept to the young adult section, where even sex is shrouded in the pretty haze of romance.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – I know. It’s horribly cliché. Twilight made me realize YA was still a thing and there might be a market for the kind of stories I wrote. I didn’t read much right after college, I think mostly due to the amount I read in college. My husband and I were broke and there wasn’t a library nearby, so I spent several years reading nothing but Agatha Christie mysteries and old favorites. When a friend loaned me Twilight, it was a wake up call. I dug out several old stories and I’ve been pursuing publication ever since.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I grew up in a home filled with books. My mom read to us before bed every night until we were teens. She not only reads stories, she tells them. A Little Princess is one she read so many times, she had passages memorized. Once I was old enough to read on my own, I reread it every winter. I think this is the book that taught me to look for magic in the every day. I always tell people that speculative fiction is my first love, yet the book I’m querying is a contemporary romance. I’ve come to realize even that it is its own kind of fantasy and I think A Little Princess is where I discovered that idea.
The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter – My family quotes Beatrix Potter like some families quote the bible or movies or TV. There is a moment somewhere in one of her stories that is appropriate for any occasion. My poor husband has never quite caught up to all the references and my brother’s fiancée is even more lost, but these stories capture a particular wry worldview that we’ve embraced. I very clearly remember sitting down at age 14 and writing out my own story for my baby sister about the wild rabbits in our backyard. Again, it’s the magical within the ordinary that captures my heart.
Raised in Avon, Ohio, the duct tape capital of the world, Jenny Kaczorowski began her writing career as a featured columnist for her hometown newspaper. After spending her college years earning a degree in journalism, she vowed to never spend another winter in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles. At the urging of a friend, Jenny finally decided it was time to do something with all of the snippets of stories she wrote during microeconomics and wrote THE RIVER REMEMBERS, a YA paranormal mystery. Since then, she has completed two more novels for young adults, including THE EXTRAORDINARY ART OF FALLING, a YA contemporary romance currently in the query trenches. Apart from writing, Jenny is still an avid photographer, loves music despite no discernable musical talent and reads the dictionary for fun. She lives near Los Angeles with her husband, baby daughter and terror, er, TODDLER son. The four of them are always looking for their adventure. You can find jenny on Twitter, facebook and her blog, In Somnis Veritas. She also blogs for YA Misfits.
Want more Four Book Friday? Here are more posts in the series:
- Katy Upperman on A Thousand Splendid Suns, Gayle Forman, Caroline B. Cooney, and Blubber
- Krista Van Dolzer on To Kill a Mockingbird, Lois Lowry, Stargirl and the power of introverts
- Hannah Thompson on Rumble Fish, Harry Potter, Chris Crutcher, and John Green.
- Clarissa Hadge on A Wrinkle In Time, Tamora Pierce, North to Freedom, and Mi Revalueshanary Fren
- Mackenzi Lee on Laini Taylor, One Day, The Thief Lord, and a book about a man and his steam shovel