I've been married for over 20 years and my wife and I share our house with two dogs and four cats here in Texas. I'm a spiritual person, although not religious, and have found the fantasy genre to be a much needed escape from the daily grind.
Reading wasn't something I did much of as a child, and my teen years were full of many of the risks kids take, unthinking of the consequences that lurk in the real world. On many occaisions I found myself in situations that could have turned out much worse than they did. My senior year in high school I came to a fork in the road. I could continue down the more risky path and the dangers that were inevitable there, or I could find an outlet that would lead me to a more enjoyable life.
I would never have thought that reading a single book would have such an impact on that decision. I had a great english teacher and he had us read The Crystal Cave, I forget the author. That was the first time I was able to sink into a story, and being a visual person the imagery was very intense. For a few hours the stress of life was an after thought and I could just enjoy the book. That book quickly led to many more, and instead of going out and getting into trouble, I was sitting at home engrossed in a new book. That alone likely steered me away from a more troubled life, but it also encouraged me to expand my reading material.
None of this would have been possible had I taken that other path so long ago. A time when a single book changed my life. I think about that during my writing, and hope that maybe some day, a book of mine can help lead someone else into a better life as well.