What books influenced you as a child?
I loved TREASURE ISLAND and still remember the scene in JOHNNY TREMAIN when his injury occurred. THE WIND AND THE WILLOWS was a favorite too, as I recall.
I read the Hardy Boys, of course, but my favorite series was the Hitchcock-sponsored Three Investigator books by Robert Arthur. Can't remember the plot to a single one but I devoured them as fast as I could check them out of the library.
There was another series from that era (1970s) that I loved too, but I can't remember the names of any of the characters or the author. The books were about a group of boys who had a science club of some sort. In one story, they built a hot air balloon that everybody thought was a UFO. Hilarious hijinks ensued and they solved some crime along the way. That ring a bell with anybody?