Today is a cold and dreary day, so I’m staying home and getting some work done. I’m cleaning my oven, doing some laundry, working on my time travel story, and thinking about my parents.

My mother came to the U.S. from Germany when I was a baby. She didn’t speak very much English, and she had to mostly teach herself the language by watching television and by reading. I remember her reading magazines when I was a little girl. She liked true crime and true detective magazines, romance magazines, and movie magazines. As her English improved, she started reading mystery novels. I can still see her sitting on the sofa reading Agatha Christie books, Perry Mason books, etc. She would sometimes talk to me and my sister about what she was reading.

I don’t really remember my father reading very often. He liked television and movies. He would take my sister and me to the movies fairly often. I remember watching a lot of John Wayne movies–westerns and war movies. But we saw other kinds of movies, too. One of my favorites was a movie about a genie. If I remember right, it was called The Brass Bottle. My father also liked science fiction shows such as Star Trek, Lost in Space, the Time Tunnel, the Twilight Zone, etc., and westerns like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The High Chapparal, etc. We usually watched these shows together, as a family.

Now, many years later, I see how some of my own interests in mysteries, westerns, war stories, romance stories, and science fiction got started, and how these early experiences contributed to my perspective when I’m writing my books. We tend to learn by example, and I was fortunate to have good examples to follow.