h4495Last month, I wrote about The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a children’s book that can provide inspiration for authors of all ages. This month I am writing about the first book I remember reading as a child that still has an influence on me as a writer.

I discovered McBroom’s Ghost while sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, something I seemed to do a lot when I was a kid. I don’t remember the exact reason I selected this book, maybe because I had read all the others.

It began like this:

“Ghosts? Mercy, yes – I can tell you a thing or three about ghosts. As sure as my name’s Josh McBroom a haunt came lurking about our wonderful one-acre farm.

I don’t know when the confounded dry-bones first moved in with us, but I suspicion it was last winter. An uncommon cold winter it was, too, though not so cold that an honest man would tell fibs about it. Still, you had to be careful when you lit a match. The flame would freeze and you had to wait for a thaw to blow it out.”

That beginning immediately hooked me because I had never read a book written in a dialect before and the dialect was very similar to the way my mom’s parents spoke.

As I read further, I fell in love with the book when I found out the McBrooms had eleven children. I was one of four kids and always wanted to be part of a bigger family with oodles of siblings. I also like the way the father Josh McBroom called his kids, “Willjillhesterchesterpeterpollytimtommarylarryandlittleclarinda!” My mom would holler all our names together like that, too.

I read many books by the author Sid Fleischman and enjoyed almost all of them, but the McBrooms remained my favorites. I read at least one more of the books from the series as a child but didn’t discover all of them until I was an adult. I have read the Saga over and over to my kids.

Since this post is running long, I will talk about how the McBroom’s influence followed me as I developed as a writer.