The main reason for this is that I was exactly the right age to be bowled over by the first two Star Wars films, and I was exactly the right age to develop a huge crush on Harrison Ford. I saw The Empire Strikes Back twice at the cinema (unheard of in my bookish, not very well-off family, where cinema visits were few and far between), and then refreshed my memories for months afterwards with the book of the film. My crush on Harrison Ford is a bit of a family joke now - but my excitement at heading to the cinema for the latest instalment in the Han Solo/Leia/Luke saga reminded me of just how strong those feelings can be.
Of course, crushes on fictional characters is a big part of growing up. My youngest is just coming up to the prime age for it - early teens - and I have a sneaking suspicion that her desire to see Spectre has less to do with the high speed chases and twisting plot and more to do with Daniel Craig's cheekbones... But crushes on fictional characters is something you can experience at any age - and although the classic crush is on a film star or pop singer, I think my strongest crushes have always been on book characters, because they are entirely my own. Even though other people may read the same book, and love the same character, they won't have exactly the same person in their head, because with books, you do some of the imaginative work yourself.
I still find that the books that grab me most are those where I have fallen just a little bit in love with one of the characters. Recently, my strongest fictional crush has been Thomas Cromwell, from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. I'm in good company on that one - Caitlin Moran asked others on twitter if they also fancied T. Cromwell, and was inundated with responses agreeing that he was, indeed, the thinking woman's crush de jour.
But I didn't just fall for handsome boys - and in fact, if the main character was a classic 'handsome boy' I tended to avoid the book like the plague - I've never been a fan of romance as a genre. I liked my crushes to be witty, unusual, interesting, maybe a bit tortured but definitely with more to do in the story than just fall in love. And they didn't have to be human - one of my earliest crushes was probably Bagheera, the panther, from The Jungle Book. (I was recently rather taken with his alter-ego, Silas, in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.)
Now that I'm a writer, even though I concentrate on middle grade rather than YA, I find I can't help falling a little bit in love with some of my characters. I have to keep the crush well under wraps, but there are a few give-aways, and I like to think that some, at least, of my readers will share my crushes.
In my most recent work-in-progress, I've re-activated a longstanding crush on the Norse God Loki (I think I was always attracted to his combination of mischief and humour, as well as his tragic end, but Diana Wynne Jone's Eight Days of Luke sealed the deal when I was about 11).
(And talking of Diana Wynne Jones, she is responsible for quite a few of my teen and early adult crushes, including probably the biggest crush of them all - on Mitt, from the Dalemark Quartet).
My own version of Loki is, like many others, quick-witted, sarcastic, vain and powerfully magical. He's ready to fight when necessary but aims to run away whenever possible - doesn't suffer fools gladly, but won't stand for injustice either - and ultimately he's always willing to laugh at himself. He's probably my ideal fictional crush.
So there you are - my embarrassing crushes revealed. What are yours?
Cecilia Busby writes humorous fantasy adventures for ages 7-12 as C.J. Busby. Her latest book, The Amber Crown, was published in March by Templar.
"Great fun - made me chortle!" (Diana Wynne Jones on Frogspell)
"A rift-hoping romp with great wit, charm and pace" (Frances Hardinge on Deep Amber)