This questions fascinates me because people ask writers this all the time and I’m not sure why. (Google “Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?” and you get 3,000 hits, all interviews with writers.) I think there’s a sense that there comes a moment when you know you are a writer, that it’s something you’re destined to do. Or maybe there’s just a feeling that there could be an interesting story in it. Though there really isn’t for me.
I always loved writing. And reading. Most people who love to write, start with a love of reading. I started writing books when I was about 12. They were all terrible and all in different genres. I wrote a terrible vampire novel and a terrible mystery novel and a terrible romance novel and a terrible Arthurian novel. Then I went to college and I took some writing classes, and I didn’t really enjoy them all that much, and I figured maybe I didn’t want to be a fiction writer. After college I worked as a journalist and I also worked part-time in a children’s bookstore. It was working in the children’s bookstore and starting to re-read the books I’d read when I was a kid that rekindled my desire to write. I started writing again, and went through several different novel ideas before I moved to New York City from Los Angeles, which is what inspired the idea of setting a book in New York and its environs. From that, City of Bones developed. It was the first book I ever sold to a publisher.
At no point during that process do I remember thinking that I had realized I was, or had decided to be, a writer. I liked writing, it was something I always enjoyed, and it seemed logical to try to make a living at it.