Here it is, my second ever guest post, finally up! Drae Box is a up-and-coming fiction writer (and very friendly, to boot!), with books Kateti and The Royal Gift both scheduled for release later this year. The former of the two can be read for free if you sign up to her newsletter! Drae also has a very active blog which publishes author interviews, giveaways and lots of other stuff. Without further ado, here is her guest post:
A Thank You to Katherine Applegate
Imagine a slug, crawling over your brain and nestling in the crevices. When it’s finished settling in, you’re a prisoner of your own body. The slug, otherwise known as a Yeerk, now has complete control of your body. You go about your day and everyone thinks you’re acting normally. They don’t know you’re now a vessel for an alien, helping to take over the planet.
As a kid, I had reading, writing and speech difficulties. Growing up in the nineties, there was no test to diagnose Dyslexia in the UK (I don’t think it had a name at the time either). In my late teens, a test was run to find out if I did as part of a college induction. I didn’t. Was that because I was now an avid reader, and writing my own stories of law enforcers who could turn into griffins and girls sent on quests to find magic daggers? How about a girl whose teachers sought to use her as a blood sacrifice because of a prophecy, and had creatures of mass destruction to help them? No idea. In lower school, I remember having a helper. She would take me out of class and we would practise reading, writing and the months of the year. She was a very kind and incredibly patient lady, to whom I owe eternal thanks. I also attended a speech therapist, who I despised. Some days I would dislike my mother, for getting out the flashcards that would make me cry. Yet between the three of them, something started to turn in my brain, and kept turning (it wasn’t a Yeerk). While I continue to this day to have to think carefully when I’m about to say, “shoulder” or, “soldier”, they gave me the push I needed to start overcoming these difficulties.
My mother had me read every night to my twin sister from a collection of short stories, and the most recognised book by C.S. Lewis – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It wasn’t because I enjoyed reading though, and I had a hatred for everything Dr. Seuss from Year Three (still kinda do). By Year Four of lower school, I no longer had my helper, but it wasn’t until middle school that I became a fan of reading. When I was in Year Seven, a friend introduced me to Animorphs, a new series by K.A. Applegate. I borrowed the first one from my school library and became hooked. Five kids that were given the ability to change into any animal they touched? And all they had to do in return was take out the aliens secretly invading Earth! It was the perfect recipe to get me hooked. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would go on to love all fantasy-action, fantasy-adventure, crime and later on, various elements of Sci-fi. I believe Animorphs played a big part in that.
So hooked was I, that each weekend, when I would get my five quid pocketmoney for doing chores around the house, I would head out to my local WH Smiths and buy the next Animorphs I could get my hands on. It was what I looked forward to without fail. Every week I read, and as I did, I grew to love reading. It is thanks to Katherine Applegate writing Animorphs that I am who I am today – I wouldn’t have started reading for fun every week. I wouldn’t be able to write as well as I can without having read the thousands of books I have now read. Nor would I be writing my own series and standalones.
Thank you, Katherine Applegate, for helping me to discover my love of reading, and for helping me on my journey to become who I am.