I’ve always admired a handful of writers. These are the ones that are able to engage me in a way that very few can.

They allow me to feel their words.

I know you may think this is odd, but there are instances when I’m reading, then close my eyes and actually feel their words almost physically.

Almost as if I’m a character in the story, but more often than not a part of their stories.

I’m sure many of you have read (and in my case reread) the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. First published in 1988, this critically acclaimed book has been translated into a dozen languages and read by more than 50 million readers.

This simple story speaks to me in so many ways. I think its both the simplicity of the story but also the powerful message that it carries within…

The protagonist (Santiago), a poor Andalusian shepherd boy sets off to find riches at the pyramids of Egypt. However, instead he discovers that the true treasure and wealth in life comes from within and that you can make your dreams come true by following your heart.

When I read this the first time, of course I’d heard all the hype and was a little skeptical, but it took only a handful of pages to have me completely hooked.

Somehow I had been transformed in Santiago…

Okay, probably getting a tad carried away, but seriously his words spoke to me. 🙂

It truly felt like the story was about me! Sure, the setting was different from where I grew up but the sentiment was the same.

When he was describing the various places along his journey, if I closed my eyes I could almost feel the soft desert wind caress my face, or see the miles of unbroken dunes in front of me as I sat astride the horse.

His quest was my quest…

I suppose that’s why this book is so well known and so loved universally.

It’s a story for everyone!

Aren’t we all looking for something in our lives?

I guess I’ve always been a big believer in following your heart, and this has been a constant theme since I began my journey of reinvention back in 2012.

We all have those ah-ha moments in our lives. I personally enjoyed how Santiago reminded me of how important it is to follow your heart…no matter what. 🙂

Still, other writers speak to me, each of them admired, but perhaps in different ways and for different reasons

One of these authors is Peter FitzSimons.

What I love most about this famed Australian author is his mesmerising and conversationalist style. It’s hard to describe, but his way of telling stories are so incredibly Australian.

He’s able to bring his characters to life in a way that I can relate to on so many levels…

His evocative stories speak to me, and I can often hear the words of my dad or characters I’ve met growing up in Australia come to life in his words… 🙂

He’s able to get to the heart of my Australian roots in a way that no other Australian author has been able. 🙂

Finally, the last of my admired authors is John Irving.

Yep, the very same guy who wrote The World According to Garp, the Cider House Rules, and more recently In One Person.

Although American, he now calls Toronto home after becoming a Canadian citizen. See, just like me he’s also smart!

I had the great pleasure of seeing him at a reading from one of his books a number of years ago and was awestruck by his storytelling skills – artful to say the least and most definitely entertaining!

For me, he is a master at being able to create images of his characters and place them squarely in my minds eye as I read…a little like Paulo but different if you know what I mean.

John’s style is a little off kilter…which I love. His characters are all flawed…just like me.

Now, can you see why I like his writing so much???

Three vastly different authors and similarly different writing styles, but each with something magical in their approach to character creation and story telling.

I think the common thread is that each of them evoke powerful imagery in some shape or form.

Whether it be the setting and the surroundings or perhaps the richness of the characters, or maybe the underlying narrative. Each comes together to deliver brilliant stories.

Over the years, each of them have shared with me invaluable lessons about writing styles, character development and story telling through their collective works.

I never imagined as a boy that I would also become a writer.

Yet here I am almost nine years on and my love affair with the written word has never wained. My personal style is an eclectic mix for sure, but one I love and look forward to each day and week.

And just like Santiago in the Alchemist I continue to follow and listen to my heart, not just in my writing but in life…

Until next week