PWC board members share their thoughts about a special book that planted a seed of inspiration.


The book that made me want to become a writer was Freefire by C.J. Box. Its opening grabbed me, shook me, and never let go. The setting intrigued me, and the protagonist’s relatable nature made me root for him every step of the way. I reached out to the author, C.J. Box, on Twitter and thanked him for writing Freefire. He was humbled by my sentiments because I told him his novel helped me escape the reality of a very rough time in my life. I hope to meet him in person one day.

– Uriah Young @UriahYoung


Danse Macabre, Stephen King’s nonfiction book about the horror genre, is probably more responsible than any other for making me a writer.  Not so much the book itself, but the preface in which King talks about why he wrote the book.  Just reading about how his brain works, the conversations he has in his head made me realize I was built the same way.  I’ve never wanted to be anything else ever since.

– Jim Knipp @knippknopp


I would have to split this into two, in that there are books on writing that I find inspiring, and there are books I read in my, er, formative years that made me react with “I want to do that.” The former in many ways comes down to one of seven essays by Samuel R. Delany and now collected in his book About Writing. But the writer who inspired me to write, probably more than anyone, was Roger Zelazny, and if I had to pick a book, it would likely be Nine Princes in Amber, in which he manages to write a high fantasy novel that pitches most of the dross of high fantasy out the window, and to pull off a narrative of the sort I had never before encountered.

– Gregory Frost @gregory_frost


I can’t answer what book made me want to be a writer, but I can say which book made it possible to be a writer. After I read Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People I realized that to achieve my dreams, I must carve out time and energy. Another book that changed my relationship to writing was Story by Robert McKee. Because I had always written essays, and earned a living as a technical writer, I didn’t think I could ever write stories. When I decided to write a memoir, I needed to find out if story writing is a learnable skill. I came across a thick book named simply Story, and even though it’s for screen writers, it showed me that it’s possible to learn how to construct stories.

– Jerry Waxler @jerrywaxler


The first book I remember looking forward to reading was The Works of Edgar Allan Poe. I enjoyed how he kept readers engrossed in finding out what happened to his angst-ridden characters. (Before the end of the Tell-Tale Heart you actually could hear the throbbing beat of the dismembered organ!) I’ve since been drawn to write and read authors who create authentic characters in realistic settings that keep you mesmerized with the conflicts of their existence all stuffed into short stories.

– Marsha Gilbert @marshagilbert