These Words Matter: Kiersten White

Although many books—The Boxcar Children, Anne of Green Gables, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Pippi Longstocking—stoked my love of reading as a child, the series that had the biggest impact on me was Brian Jacques’ Redwall books. It was the first series that moved me past enthusiastic reader to dedicated fan.

These Words Matter: Kiersten WhiteMy friend and I read them together, starting in fifth grade. It was always a race to see who could get the newest release and read it first. This was crucial, because whoever read the book first got to pick how each name was pronounced. After suffering through Brianne saying “Cluny the Scourge” wrong EVERY SINGLE DAY, that was not something I was willing to risk ever again.

We spoke to each other like moles. We discussed which type of woodland creature we would be. (I was always torn between squirrel and otter. To be honest, I still am.) We picked which items from the lovingly described feasts we most wanted to eat. Together, we participated in the stories in a way I never had before.

That opened up a new world for me, one in which the words on the page were not the end, but the beginning. That hunger to participate in, and expand on something I loved shifted and grew until it became a hunger to create. Would I have become a writer without that series? Probably. But I’m so glad the seed was planted in such rich, fertile, and oddly vermin-filled land.

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Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken, the first in an epic trilogy based on a gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler, which is out now. She is also author of the bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Mind Games and Perfect Lies. Also, Illusions of Fate, a dreamy historical fantasy, wants to be your new boyfriend. It's a really good kisser.

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