Some that stick in my mind are the Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L’Engle, the Hitchhiker books by Douglas Adams, every Ellen Raskin book I could get my hands on, Isaac Asimov's books about robots and Foundation, short story collections by Frederic Brown, and Piers Anthony’s Xanth series which I read until I hit the 11th or 12th book and had to stop for the sake of my sanity (possibly a few books too late). The great thing about Piers Anthony’s books of my childhood were the author’s notes in the back that gave some insight into the working environment, tools, and methods behind the stories.
There’s also a book series I won’t name, which I read about six of in fourth grade before wondering…why? It was the first time I’d ever stopped in the middle of a book and thought, “I could do better than this!”
The most intensive training I’ve received has come from my critique group and from the process of submitting manuscripts to agents and editors and having them come back with “positive rejections.” Editorial letters that don’t lead to a book contract sometimes do contain helpful hints about adding more backstory, punchier humor, or more character development. I’m grateful (now) to all the editors who didn’t publish my work when it wasn’t quite ready, because they taught me how to make it better!
How can I add my own question to this page?
On the right side of this site is an “Ask the Author” box where you can direct your questions to me, or you can go directly to my page on Formspring. The best questions will be added to my website.