Authors that Influence and Inspire Me, Part II: Carolyn Keene

I suppose it should read Carolyn Keene, et al, for I learned many years ago while researching Nancy Drew Mysteries that Carolyn Keene was in fact a pseudonym under which multiple authors operated. They were given a set of guidelines and paid to write the mysteries within those rules.

I discovered Nancy Drew the summer after second grade. My cousin, Chelsea, challenged me . Who could read more Nancy Drew? Determined to beat each other, we raided our Aunt Jeanne’s home library and hijacked all the yellow, hard-backed books she had. When that supply was exhausted, we raced to the library.

That summer was magical. My creative mind was suddenly opened to a wealth of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and, sometimes, sleepless nights. I am pretty sure my cousin won the bet, but suddenly I was an avid, passionate reader. From that point, I fell in love with books. The smell, the feel, the covers. All of it. I loved each book, even the ones I never read. And I still do.

Today, my daughter’s bookshelf is filled with Nancy Drew. I have spent ten years adding to my collection. With over 200 books carrying the name Nancy Drew, though, it is a long process. However, my favorites will always be those yellow, rough-feeling, hard-backed “original” mysteries. What better than a young woman solving mysteries in a time when women were mainly homemakers to jump-start my inner reader all those years ago?

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