It all started with Nancy Drew.
After I learned how to read (at age 2, beginning with mall store signs — my mom jokes I’ve always been a shopper), I devoured books like they were chocolate cake. I read a little bit of everything — Dr. Seuss, the “Arthur” series, even world atlases — but my world changed in Pre-K when I discovered Carolyn Keene’s series.
Nancy was strong, independent and smart. Incredibly smart. And she combined that intelligence with her curiosity to become an incredible detective.
Nancy was my first strong female role model. I couldn’t get enough of the original novels, the takeoffs or (later) the computer games. She pieced together clues to solve mysteries, all the while getting to experience cool things and help wonderful people.
But perhaps most importantly, Nancy introduced me to the world of mysteries.
In mysteries, you have to figure out exactly what happened — the five W’s + How, as a former English teacher called it. Any detail could be important as you seek the truth and discern what’s credible and accurate. Then, you have to determine what’s pertinent and what you really need to know so you can tell others what happened.
From Day One, I was addicted. I moved from one mystery series to the other. I have spent hours of my life watching crime shows such as “CSI: NY,” “Criminal Minds” and “Bones.” I even had themed mystery birthday parties as a child.
I thought for a while that I wanted to be a forensic scientist. However, after taking a class in forensics in high school and discovering that, in fact, I did not like blood, that dream died quickly. But then, I discovered something even better: I could combine my love of writing with my love of solving mysteries in this profession called journalism.
We solve mysteries all the time in journalism. We serve democracy and the public by verifying and communicating information, by keeping a check on governmental entities and by highlighting all of the cool things people do in a community. And we do so without having to work directly with blood and guts.
And I love it.