Friday, April 30, 2010

Do You (Nancy) Drew?

Nancy Drew is turning 80 this week and we just had to take a minute to wish her happy birthday. Chances are if you're a girl and you read a lot growing up, you're well versed in all things Nancy.

Personally, my first brush with the divine Ms. Drew was born out of sheer boredom. I was at my Grandmother's house and I had finished The Babysitter's Club #3,210 Logan Stalks Mary Ann* and I had nothing to do. Enter my Grandmother's dusty bookshelves lined with my mom's old Nancy Drew books. The girl on the cover looked pretty cool in a retro kind of way. And the cover looked slightly mysterious and maybe even a tiny bit scary to my 9-year-old eyes, so it was really a no brainer. I cracked the book open and started reading.

And I didn't stop. I made my way through all of my mom's old books and then started buying the newer ones at the store.

Nancy was my first mystery and she was the first heroine I remember reading about that had some real girl power. She had her own car, her own friends and she always cracked the case. Ned was cool too, but he was more like an accessory than a boyfriend, which in retrospect was actually kind of awesome.

Naturally, when we set out to write a mystery for tween and teen girls, Nancy Drew was the first heroine to come to mind. When we had a vision of a modern day Nancy, rocking (longer) pearls (they're SO much more versatile from a fashion perspective) and solving mysteries with a wicked sense of humor, Kate Lowry was born. Of course Kate being both self-aware and sarcastic is all too aware of her Nancy Drew like tendencies, so LIAR SOCIETY is full of her irreverent Nancy-isms.

To celebrate Nancy's birthday we thought it only fitting to share Kate's very first Nancy-ism. Our snarky sleuth has just received an e-mail from her dead best friend and has taken it upon herself to crack the case:

That e-mail had somehow transformed me into Nancy-effing-Drew and it was borderline ridiculous. I remembered devouring those books as a kid, positive that one day I’d grow up to be a kickass detective just like her. And here I am. Nancy Drew version 2.0. I wonder if Nancy had to pop Prozac to take the edge off too? Probably not. Just goes to show, remakes are never as good as the original.

Now it's your turn: Which fictional characters have inspired you? Head over to the comments and paste a little something that demonstrates how they've impacted your writing if you're in the mood to share.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone and be sure to stop back on Monday for a brand new vlog and a contest for a signed copy of one of our all-time favorite books.

HUGE thanks to Loretta Nyhan for letting us know about Nancy's big b-day. Do yourselves a favor and go follow her blog. She's the next Sarah Dessen and quite possibly one of the smartest (and funniest) people we know.

*Fine, that's totally not a real title, but did anyone else find Logan creepy? And Mary Ann was so freaking boring. How did she have a boyfriend while rockin' Claudia was stuck closet eating her feelings?


Cynthia Watson said...

I've always loved "The Girl" in Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier; she over-thinks everything - just like me!

Jen said...

Wow 80 years huh?! That's awesome! I grew up reading these as well and loved them dearly! I plan on sharing them with my little ones (whenever I have them) along with Dr. Suess and Rohl Dahl, books that never go out of style!

salarsenッ said...

She's 80! Sweet, I'm feeling better about my age now. ";-) She is such a heroine, too, huh?? She was my first real image of a strong female. Of course that's if you exclude Daphne and Veronica. (HAH!!)

Loved Scooby Doo.

Amie McCracken said...

Oh geez. Babysitters Club. My friends and I all had Babysitters Club themed birthday parties one year. Wow. I hid candy in my room like Claudia, but then the dogs ate some and it was bad so I had to stop.

Anyways...I started Nancy Drew just like you. Set down Babysitters Club and picked up my mom's old Nancy Drew books.

But Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice is kind of my muse. Her and maybe Jo from Little Women. I'm very old fashioned at heart. But still so much a tomboy.

Matthew Rush said...

That is crazy. 80 years was a long time ago. Thanks for filling us in ladies.

The only characters I was really influenced by at that tender young age were Luke Skywalker, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Indiana Jones (and Short Round), Danny Champion of the World, and Tintin. Of course I was a boy ... so there is that difference.

It does make you wonder though: How did Carolyn Keene write SO many books with any of the later ones becoming craptastic?

According to Wikipedia many of the books were ghost written by authors other than Edward Stratemeyer, but I'm not sure if I want to believe that.

Anyway thanks for another great post Lisa and Laura!

Today's guest blogger is The Alliterative Allomorph!

Liza said...

Since I'm probably your Mom's age, I read my sister's Nancy Drews, until I could buy my own. Recently, I was visiting my brother and his wife and couldn't sleep. A Nancy Drew book sat on the shelf beside the bed. I read it until I fell asleep and left the next day wishing I had asked to borrow it.

Loretta Nyhan said...

I was obsessed with Nancy, too! She seemed to really have it all together.

Trixie Belden was another fave. And I'm in the Jo March camp as well, though being a tomboy was more aspiration than reality.

Um...thanks for all the compliments! I'm totally blushing.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were my favorites growing up! I plan to reread both collections :))

Have a great weekend!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

You're not going to believe this, but I've never read any Nancy Drew books. They weren't available in England when I was growing up there, and I don't remember hearing about them when I moved to Houston, Tx.

I was glue to The Famous Five by Edith Blyton, which was a really cool MG mystery series that was made into a weekly TV show. The books were what hooked me into reading.

Joanna said...

I remember reading every single Nancy Drew at my library too! And I still own a few of my own.

Nancy Drew was probably the first series I ever DEVOURED. So in a way, she kind of changed my life! After that, I was looking for series and more books to fly through.

Happy Bday, Nancy Drew! You rock!

Hardygirl said...

I heart Nancy, but I totally wanted to be a combo of Harriet the Spy and Ramona Quimby with a little Willy Wonka sprinkled in.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

I loved Nancy, too. My friend and I used to dress up in her mom's high heels and carry her old purses while solving mysteries (meaning picking up old receipts in the gutter and calling them clues).

I think Ramona Quimby still resonates most with me: such a true to life child. Re-reading Ramona has given me compassion for my own kids and has helped me aim for honesty in my characters.

Mariah Irvin said...

Kate sounds awesome! I've always been a historical fiction junkie, so I would read "The Royal Diaries"- all of the books were about a different princess and their butt-kicking coolness.

Laura Marcella said...

I haven't read a Nancy Drew mystery in years! I might have to get one out of the library for old time's sake.

Claudia was my favorite BSC member! She was so cool with her funky outfits and hidden candy all over her room. Plus she had a telephone in her room, wow!

Talli Roland said...

Nancy Drew 80! I used to love reading her mysteries; I was always in awe of how she never seemed to get scared!

Shannon said...

It's been years since I've read Nancy Drew. As for me, I was addicted to Judy Blume books.

Tere Kirkland said...

Oh, yeah, Logan was creepy and Mary Anne was codependent. Nancy must have been a breath of girl-power scented air when you discovered her.

Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Simon C. Larter said...

(Shh... don't tell anyone, but I read my mom's Nancy Drew books too. What? I ran out of The Hardy Boys mysteries too fast, and after the Bobbsey Twins, Secret Seven, and all that got old, I still needed a book fix. Don't judge me.)

*in a loud voice* The fictional characters that inspire me are all hard-drinkin', hard-livin' men with repressed feelings and poor judgment when it comes to the ladies. Yeah. TOTALLY.

(Seriously, don't tell anyone about the Nancy Drew thing. My manly rep might suffer if that kind of thing gets around.)

Dara said...

Felicity from the American Girl series. I started reading those about 8 or 9 and I simply fell in love with the colonial era--and with Felicity's spunk.

I even was tempted to write the author a letter after I finished, begging her to write a book about Felicity when she was older so she could marry Ben (who was seriously my first fictional crush :P)

Those books--as well as many of the other American Girl ones--really ignited my fire for history, and it's probably what started me on the path to being a historical fiction writer.

Tahereh said...

*nervous laughter*

i um. i, i, i -- i uh, never, uh. maybe i may or may not have ever might not have read nancy drew MAYBE.



also: i will DEVOUR your books and satiate my N. Drew need in that way, too.

hee hee.

<3 you girls!

great post!!

Lola Sharp said...

Oh I used to Drew my ass off! I think I read them all when I was a kid. (and Judy Bloom's Are You There God...)
Also, I used to LOVE watching the Hardy Boys show, which is way before your time, but they were my favorite reruns. I thought they were So cute.

Happy Birthday Nancy!

Happy Weekend, LiLa,

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm not sure why but I was more of a Hardy Boys fan than Nancy Drew. Boys had so much more freedom.

I'm a rebel.

I read Flowers in the Attic when I was in 5th grade and my love of fantasy was born. And yes, that was pure fantasy...I don't care what they call it. Because even at 10 I knew if you locked me and any of my siblings in an attic for three years, you would not get any kind of romance...more like a messier version of Lord of the Flies.

Lori W. said...

I gobbled up all the Nancy Drew books, too. Anne of Greene Gables inspired me. In college, my friend and I (geeks that we were) threw an Anne tea party. Guys came sporting bow ties and bearing apple pies. Women wore lace gloves. Poetry and quotes from the books were recited on the lawn, old-fashioned games played. Who knew it'd be such a draw, but I guess lots of women loved their Anne and lots of guys figured out there'd be lots of women. :)

Anne said...

Why was this posted at 6am? Yikes! :)I was a fan of Nancy Drew as well (thanks to my mom) in fact for Easter my 6yo daughter received an awesome Nancy Drew book complete with pop-ups, clues, postcards etc. She loves it! So we went to the library to swoop up some of the newer books. (Nancy is like 6 or 7 in these) Thanks for the post!

Erica Chapman said...

LOL on Logan. Yeah he was on the creepy side. I loved Claudia!!

Gah, I don't want to admit that I haven't read even 1 Nancy Drew book. I know. I know. I really feel bad and I'm going to rectify that as soon as I get to the library. Promise ;o)

Loved the post & your excerpt! Have a great weekend!

Piedmont Writer said...

Funny I never read Nancy but I did read Trixie Beldon and the Hardy Boys.
Have a great weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

80? Wow. I loved Nancy Drew books. I think I read/devoured them all. And then did the same with the Hardy Boys. I loved the fact that she had her own car and she was smart and fun. Such a great character. Love your Nancy-ism :) Can't wait until your book is out!!

jessjordan said...

I've never read Nancy Drew. Not sure why. I guess I was more into Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter's Club.

The fictional character that inspired me most isn't from a book. Buffy (from the show, not the movie) is one of my favorite fictional characters ever. Strong and quirky and hard and broken. She's the reason I still have a soft spot for paranormal, and for series.

Larissa said...

LOVED Nancy Drew! I also loved the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series (I think I read that one first, and then got into ND).

LMAO @ Logan Stalks MaryAnn. Srsly. :)

Sara B. Larson said...

Oh man, that just brought back some major memories! I made my own babysitters club as a child and thought it would be cool to have diabetes so I could be like Stacey (yeah, I was weird and a little delusional about how "cool" it would be to go into diabetic shock from eating a cookie. Anyway...) and I totally devoured Nancy Drew books as well. That was my phase of thinking everything around me must be clues about a mystery of some sort. Ah, how I love books. :-)

Great post! Can't wait to read LIAR SOCIETY!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

When I moved to America my Step-Dad's mom had all of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books in her basement. I devoured them. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Okay, so I totally loved you guys already, but your love of Nancy Drew makes me feel like I'm a Hilton sister now, too ;) Dude, we share a passion. I first read Nancy at my Grandma's house--also because I was bored. And recently, my Mom passed all of her old Nancy Drew books on to my daughters. Makes me all sentimental and old-feeling.

Jill Wheeler said...

I just have to say I love that paragraph you posted from Kate! Such a great voice! I can't wait until your book comes out.

Oh, and I grew up reading Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley High, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, V.C. Andrews...

I had to laugh the other day when I was reading Hush, Hush, and the MC jumped into her Spider Fiat. Author must have also had a thing for SVH!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sherlock Holmes and Ulysses were my heroes growing up. They used their brains to make sense of the puzzles in their lives. And then, there was a young boy called The Thinking Machine in our weekly school paper {Sherlock Holmes, Jr.}

Have a great week, Roland

Jeannie Lin said...

Not a huge Nancy Drew fan, but I did love The Three Investigators. I wanted to read every single one and would mark them off in my book as I read them.*sigh*

Now I want to go back and grab the last ones I never got to!

Jojomama said...

I loved this series. There were some old copies of the collection in my 5th grade teacher's classroom. Pretty sure I read them all. Classic.


I've read many a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novel....

Priya Parmar said...

wow, i have just this edition. i love these books and am sure i have a penchant for that shade of yellow because of them!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Me and Nancy go way back. I mean waaaaay back. I'll never forget sitting in the orthodontist chair reading a Nancy Drew while waiting for the dentist (I was in 6th grade) and the nurse exclaiming that her mother had some Nancy Drew books at home. I told her they were my favorites. She brought them for me to my next appt. An entire box full! Of original editions! The ones with the original blue covers. They're probably worth a lot of money now, but I've never gotten them appraised. :-)

Gail said...

I was so totally hooked on Nancy D! When I got my first teaching position, I called my mom to ask her to ship all my Nancy books for my classroom. She said she'd GIVEN THEM AWAY to my sister's elementary school! I didn't talk to mom for a week!