I just read that Diana Wynne Jones died this week. I feel genuinely sad at her loss. She was one of my favourite authors.
It was one of her books that first inspired me to write. I mean to really write, not just mess around thinking about it and scrawling out the occasional 100 words. Up until reading her I had thought of writing, as most beginners do of any activity, as rather straightforward. I imagined that anyone could do it. When I began Howl’s Moving Castle, the first book of hers I ever read, I was immediately struck by just how clear her writing was. How imaginative, witty, wise and beautiful that good writing could be, whilst always remaining entertaining and, in this case, suitable for children. This was before Children’s writing was enjoying its current renaissance.
I also became aware that I couldn’t write that well – anywhere near that well – and this opened my eyes to the realisation that writing was something that you had to work at. That’s what made me become a writer – I wanted to write as well as Diana Wynne Jones. I haven’t managed it yet, I don’t know if I ever will, but I keep trying.
I never met her, I was bitterly disappointed when I found out we once stood near to each other at a convention. I would have loved to have said hello and tell her how much she inspired me, but that’s life: missed opportunities. At least I got to read her books.
I was going to put a link here to Amazon and my favourite book of hers: Fire and Hemlock. I was going to, but the cheapest second hand copy was £15.
Instead, here’s a link to Charmed Life. It’s also good, but, to be honest, I’d recommend just about anything by her.