For me, travel has always been an inspiration. Wherever I go, I find myself thinking of plots that could fit the particular setting I'm in. Incidentally, my desire to first become a writer surfaced before I had done any traveling at all.
I was sitting in a 7th grade English class in the city of Närpes, located on the west coast of Finland. I recall that I wasn't very fond of our teacher and I can't for the life of me remember her name either. This particular week, our assignment was of a little different kind. She wanted to evaluate our writing skills and asked us to write a fictional story.
At that time in my life, my imagination was already running in high gear, influenced by reading of all kinds of fiction, from the Hardy Brothers and Biggles to Stephen King and Allistair MacLean (Ice Station Zebra was a favorite). The assignment was therefore an exciting one and I jumped in with excitement.
Although I can't recall the title of my story, I remember part of the story. It was set during a stormy night, with pouring rain, lightning and such. A lone man was driving on a desolate road, destination unknown. His car broke down and he found himself stranded in the middle of nowhere. Then I recall there was something about a distant, old castle, scary monsters and other unpleasant things. I can't remember the end.
I handed the story in on time. The following week, we were told, we would receive our grades.
A week later, back in class, my teacher announced that she had decided to read aloud one of the stories that had been turned in. When she announced it was my story, I was shocked and also a little embarrased. When writing the story, I had never thought about anyone else ever reading or hearing it, much less that my teacher would consider it good enough to read aloud to the entire class.
That's when I realized that my writing could be entertaining to others and it would be fun to do more writing. That's when I knew I wanted to do more.