I punched the word ‘inspired’ into my online Thesaurus because I wanted an alternate definition to describe what turned me into a writer. Thing is, I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I wanted to write. It just kind of happened. So, I chose the word ‘influence’, which feels more evolutionary to me.
The influence was, I suppose, subliminal. I was very fortunate to grow up where I did. I was immersed in history, raised in an area beloved by writers and poets, and spoon-fed local legends and folklore. And I took it all for granted.
I was born in a medieval village and christened in a 12th century church founded by the ‘greatest knight who ever lived’, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. I have played in medieval castle ruins and clambered over walls built by the Romans. I have loved to read since an early age. As a kid, I devoured the works of Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, C. S. Lewis, and Enid Blyton, to mention a few.
I once went on a school trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Romeo and Juliet, but I have no shame in confessing that I wasn’t a fan of Shakespeare. I was more interested in his house, with its wonderful sloping floor, and Anne Hathaway’s romantic thatched cottage, with its incredible garden.
My grandmother knew Beatrix Potter – and actually didn’t like her very much! Later in life, Nana, as she was known to me, took possession of a house where Charlotte Bronte had once slept. I always slept in ‘Charlotte’s’ room whenever I went to stay. I was nine years old when my mother introduced me to Jane Eyre. To this day, it remains as my favorite novel.
I worked for a time at the Westmorland Gazette, a local newspaper founded in 1818. One of its early editors was Thomas de Quincey, a well-known essayist in his time, who gained overnight fame with his ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’. The man was addicted to Laudanum.
William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter also submitted letters to the newspaper.
Surrounded. Immersed. And highly imaginative. How could I not be influenced, and consequently inspired, by such an upbringing? Besides, I’ve always been a bit of an Alice-in-Wonderland, wandering off into other realities in my head and creating stories.
I guess, nowadays, I simply put them onto paper!
Elizabeth Ellen Carter Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.