The question of "when did you know you want to write?" comes up once in awhile. I always hate this question because I don't have the same answer as most people, who apparently starting journalling their inner thoughts in the womb (waterproof keypad I suppose) ... and I always feel a bit inadequate that I came to the decision much later in life ... and for a much shallower reason.
When the BBC released their version of Pride and Prejudice, I hadn't even heard of the story. I'd heard of Jane Austen, of course, but only because I'd seen Sense and Sensibility and thought it was quite fantastic and so I thought this Jane Austen person's miniseries might be worth a look.
It was six hours long. Six hours! And I was glued to my seat the whole time in what I like to refer to as a "full-on Darcy trance." The lake scene was replayed dozens of times that weekend, mostly while I scarfed down Cheetos and Diet Coke, and I literally fell in love with Colin Firth (his public relations manager has since wrote me to tell me it's not actual 'love' and that I should stop sending photos .. and invitations to dinner ... and hair clippings ... ).
After that I started concocting all of these stories that were just various takes on the Mr. Darcy character. Of course in my versions he had a tendency to run around without pants a lot, but everyone has their own "vision" of a story.
Since that time I've stopped thinking of stories where Colin Firth figures prominently and actually moved onto writing real stories. I've joined a writing group, started and stopped several novels, got some critique partners and finalled in some contests.
But it really was Colin Firth who got me started on the whole thing (and Helen Fielding had her part too by showing me the way with Bridget Jones).
And even though my path to writing isn't as pure-hearted as some of my colleagues, I know I'm on the right path. It doesn't matter how I got here ... I'm just glad I found it. Because let's be honest ... those "Colin Firth without pants" stories are not going to write themselves ...