It’s not hard for me to pinpoint the time in my life when I first fell in love with books. It was during one of the worst periods of my life–high school.
You see, when I was seventeen, I was kicked out of my house and found myself living out of my car. It took me awhile to find a spot where I could park my car (a dirt road between two corn fields) where the cops wouldn’t find me, knock on my window, and tell me I couldn’t sleep there.
Now, if you’ve ever watched a horror movie in your life, you know corn fields aren’t the most comforting of locations to spend your evenings–especially when the stalks are tall enough to swallow your car. And since my high school years were before the dawn of the cell phone, I had no one to talk to.
But I did have books–stacks of them that I checked out from the library and would read in the back of my car with a flash light. And what I discovered was truly amazing. Books had the power to transport me out of the crap hole that was my life. No longer was I a homeless girl living out of her car in the middle of a cornfield–but I was a princess escaping from an evil king in a fantasy land, I was a kick ass warrior armed with crossbows on the prowl for the living dead, and I was girl who’d just discovered she was a witch and had to learn to control my powers before the villagers discovered me. All of these things were better than being a homeless teenager.
And that’s why I owe books a debt I’m not quite sure I’ll ever be able to repay. That’s why I write. I don’t want to write the next great American novel. I don’t care if I never sell a million copies or have throngs of fans. But if one of my books has the ability to transport a suffering teenager away from their problems even for a short time, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.