My Dad spent 22 years in the United States Air Force, so I was a military brat. I was an only child; Mother got me started in school a year early; and we moved every couple of years to a different air base. This meant that I was usually the newest kid in class, the youngest kid in class, and for most of my childhood often the littlest boy in class. You can imagine what that did to my social experiences. Combine that with a bit of an introverted temperament, and you have a recipe for a lifetime reader, which I did indeed become. I read omnivorously, both in quantity and in genre, with the result that I was reading at a college sophomore level in 6th grade. I once tried to estimate how many books I’ve read in the last (mumbledy) years, and quit when I arrived at a number that even I didn’t believe.
I discovered science fiction in 6th grade, by way of the novels of Andre Norton. It quickly became my passion, and I’ve always been grateful to her and her memory ever since. Discovered Tolkien in 8th grade, and developed a similar passion for fantasy, particularly of the epic flavor.
Unlike a number of my fellows here at Fictorians, I didn’t have any great desire to be a writer at an early age. My bachelor’s degree is in Music Theory and Composition, but I never made a dime with it because two semesters into the master’s degree I decided I didn’t really want to teach college for a living. The degree gave me pretty intensive training in logic, analysis and process flow, however, and that’s basically the tool set that’s earned me a living for most of my adult life. But since the degree also emphasized also the creative aspect of writing music and the discipline of performing it–I had to write, rehearse, and stage the music for an hour-long recital in order to graduate–it did prepare me for the writer’s life as well.
My writer’s epiphany occurred like this: I was at the stage of life where if I bought a book, I was going to read it through, no matter how bad it was. (I’ve since learned better.) And this one particular sword and sorcery novel that I had picked up was beyond bad. It was horrible. When I read the last page and closed the cover, I promptly threw it across the room and declared loudly, “I can write better than that!” Truth. That’s literally what happened.
Not long after that, I had occasion to relate that experience to a science fiction author I was acquainted with. She heard me out, then looked at me and said words to the effect of “Do it.”
So I did, and discovered it wasn’t quite as easy as it looked. It took a while, but I finally found my ‘voice’ in 2004 and have attained a degree of competence–at least enough so that I’ve sold a number of stories to electronic SF magazines and several hard-copy anthologies, and currently have a novel under contract with a major SF publisher.
I really enjoy writing–science fiction and fantasy, of course–and I hope that others enjoy what I write. My only complaint about writing is it really cuts into my reading time.