What makes a writer? Well, probably genes, education and... something else. What made me a writer? This is my best shot at explaining it. So far, anyway.
On the genes front, I come from a long line of agricultural labourers and con men. I'm not sure, where the con men came from. That's the trouble with con men. Their stories are dazzling - but they shift. I know about the agricultural labourers, though. They raised a family of 13 in a two room cottage. They had five children baptised at a time. They rose in the world and kept pubs and village stores. They died and were buried in village churchyards. They feuded like mad and, all the time, they told stories about each other. Crime fiction, largely. And themselves. Those were the heroic sagas. And, of course, romance.
When I was small, my mother couldn't bear reading aloud. So she taught me to read at an appallingly precocious age. In the fullness of time she gave me Jane Austen and 'Gone With the Wind'. My father gave me Dickens. I found Shakespeare for myself. A brilliant teacher gave me Tolkien and Elizabeth Bowen. The local library was just five minutes walk away. By the time I was ten, I was a twelve book a week girl. Given a following wind and the electricity bills paid, I still am.
So what about the something else? I'm really not sure what it is. Maybe it's to do with wishing you could know. People are slippery. If you write you can get a handle on them - well, on your characters - for just a while at least. And there are conflicting truths, too. My father said, 'We have to help other people, we are all brothers.' My mother said, 'Be careful of other people, they bite.' I was an only child. I said 'What if they're both right...?' and wrote stories.