Ursula K. Le Guin was an inspiration to many writers, and authors, both aspiring and published alike, including myself. I was in middle school, around 12 years old, when I first got my hands on The Tombs of Atuan. Admittedly, I only grabbed it because I’d been at the same school since kindergarten and probably devoured over 90% of the fantasy books, and I was in desperate need of anything to keep my attention. I’d never seen The Tombs of Atuan before, probably just passed over it on accident reaching for something else, but on that day I grabbed it, checked it out, and immediately cracked it open as soon as I got back to class. From the first word, I was entranced. My teachers had to pull me out of it when we went from study hall to actual classes. And all the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Once I finished it, I went back and grabbed the other two Earthsea books we had, and read through those as well.

Around the same time, I was getting into my writing for real. This is when I distinctly remember setting myself on this path. I’d written things before, but those things were short, unfinished, or both, and not kept track of. But, in middle school, I really decided I wanted to be an author.

I consider Le Guin’s books a cornerstone of the works I’ve managed to write, of each ounce of inspiration and determination that I use to start and ultimately finish novels. I’m ashamed to admit it’s been a good few years since I’ve read the Earthsea series, though I think about them often. Still, whether I read them once a year, or don’t read them again for a decade, I will never forget picking up The Tombs of Atuan, and I’ll never forget the drive those books put in me to create worlds and characters of my own.