So, I've always been a big fan of books. I can't even remember NOT knowing how to read. I wore out my library card, and always had more books than would fit on the shelf in my room.
But 25 years ago, there were only so many young adult books available. Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High - these are what I read the most of because that's what girls my age were supposed to be reading. And there's nothing wrong with those books, it's just that, well, I craved...MORE.
Every summer I would spend a few weeks at my aunt and uncle's house. They were book lovers as well, and truthfully, passed that passion on to me through many a trip to the library or out of the way bookstore. They had loads of books at their house, so one summer, I decided I was going to read some grown-up books.
What did I pick to start with? Salem's Lot by Stephen King. Probably not the best choice for a 12 year old, but I was determined and could not be swayed.
The book scared the crap out of me.
I was mesmerized, and read it all in one day. I read until my eyeballs felt like they would pop out of my head and every noise that house made was a vampire about to get me. I was frightened and exhilarated, and...couldn't wait to read the next one.
Thus began my love affair with horror and the paranormal. I became obsessed, and that summer I also read Cujo, Carrie, Christine, and Firestarter. The world of horror and the paranormal opened up and swallowed me whole. Something about finding fear in the everyday or that there's more to this life than we know totally appealed to 12 year old me and made my imagination take flight.
That's when I really started writing my own stories, filling notebook after notebook, all the while devouring books like a person starved. I specifically became obsessed with vampires, and to this day have one bookcase in my house devoted entirely to vampire fiction.
I owe that "horrific" summer the credit for steering me onto this path of a writer, showing me so much more than I could ever have imagined. Books are and always will be what sustains me. And I pray they continue to inspire and entertain generations to come.
Who knows? Maybe even one of my stories will spark a light in another 12 year old...
All I can do is hope!