I was born on January 1st, 1980 in a little town in southeast Ohio. I was the first child (my brother wouldn’t be born for another 8 years) and so most of my parents attention in my early life was on me.
We moved around a bit at first, but by the time I was 5 we’d settled down in the first and only house my parents have ever bought. My parents put me in preschool when I was 3 and my father taught me at home throughout grade school, but it wasn’t until I was 17 that my love of books developed. I remember having to read Louis L’Amour’s “The Sacketts” as a punishment when I was 12 (I don’t remember what I did to deserve such a punishment, either; the story was good, but the writing, I knew even at 12, was atrocious), and I enjoyed them, but they didn’t inspire me to read more. They didn’t move me, I guess you could say. That didn’t happen until 1997, when I was 17.
I don’t remember the date, obviously, but I want to say it was sometime in autumn (October sticks out in my head). I’d just come into the house from doing something, and the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s, “Misery” with James Caan was playing on television. It was the scene where Annie Wilkes (played by the wonderfully talented Kathy Bates) puts the block of wood between Paul Sheldon’s (James Caan) legs and hits his ankles with a sledge hammer. I asked what the movie was, and my mother told me the title. She then uttered the sentence that would change my life:
“In the book she cuts off his foot with an axe.”
I went on Amazon.com (it was only a few years old in those days, but still popular) and bought the mass market paperback copy of Misery. It showed up three days later and I read it in a single afternoon and evening, sitting in the recliner by the big picture window until after midnight. If any of you know the story, Paul Sheldon has to play Scheherazade to save his life, and the book says a lot about the craft of writing and telling stories.
Things snowballed from there. I read the rest of Stephen King’s work (most of it, anyway) and when, a few months later, my brother gave me his copies of the first three Harry Potter books that our mother’d bought him because he didn’t read, I was hooked into the Fantasy genre. I’ve read hundreds of books since then (maybe close to a thousand), but “Misery” and “Harry Potter” have had the most influence on my writing (J.K. Rowling’s wonderful sense of the fantastic mixed with Stephen King’s love of the macabre. . .I’m surprised I’m still normal).
I did the normal things after that: graduated high school, drifted in and out of college, got married, got divorced. Throughout it all my love of writing grew. I wrote my first story when I was 17, added poetry to the mix in my twenties, and completed my first novel when I was 28.
“Sage”, my first published novel, was written and completed in 2011.