Then I thought of my career as a fantasy author and what sparked my love of the genre. I was always a huge reader and dabbled a bit in some YA fantasy, but it was mom who truly introduced me to the genre and fueled my passion. When I was 12, she picked up the Shannara series by Terry Brooks at Goodwill. I read The Sword of Shannara, immediately became hooked, and plowed through the rest of the series. I branched out to other others, but always came back to Terry Brooks and Shannara. What I loved about his writing (and still do) is he makes me truly care for the characters, whether they be good or evil, and his writing is extremely relatable because he includes real life issues into the story, albeit sometimes quite subtly.
Funnily enough, I now do that in my writing, though I'm perhaps much more bold than Terry. I don't think I'd be doing what I do if my mom had never taken that trip to Goodwill and come home with a stack of his books. I learned a great deal from Terry's writing which has influenced my own style. Because of Shannara I saw that although fantasy is make-believe, it can still be real. It can still be relevant. I'm not afraid to get deep into my characters' minds. I'm not afraid to write about topics which most other fantasy authors would shy away from. I'm not afraid to make my fantasy real. Because of that, my writing draws people in, including readers who generally don't enjoy fantasy.
For me, Terry Brooks and his Shannara series has been the most influential thing I've read. What about you? What book stands out in your mind as being the most influential and why?