How one book can change the entire course of your life

I was re-writing my author bio yesterday evening, and I was trying to remember what was the first fantasy novel I’d ever read. Suddenly, I remembered a Christmas book bundle that included four “choose your own adventure”-style books. One of them was Pillars of Pentegarn, written by Rose Estes and cover art by Larry Elmore.

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I was probably about six years of age when I got this gift. Up until that point, I had strictly been a mystery girl - Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and the like. But, I read Pillars of Pentegarn again and again and again. I felt a thrill deep inside like I’d never felt before as I stepped into the imaginary world of that book, where magic, elves, and goblins were real.

You are Jaimie, a young villager who posseses the ability to talk to woodland creatures. You are currently playing with two of them, Fox and Owl. You, unlike the rest of your fellow villagers, can understand animals, and find great comfort in their company. Although you have been warned of the dangers in the woods, you spend some of your most enjoyable moments there with your woodland friends. All is good until a group of goblins, hunting the wizard Pentegarn, the elf Lydia, and the fighter Baltek, cross your path.

It was hard for me to find other fantasy novels in my grade school library, but when I got older, I started eating up every fantasy book in my junior high and high school libraries.

The book I got when I was just six pointed out the way for me, and the books I read after it have made me the writer I am today. Each time I sit down to start a new story or a piece of a chapter, I get the same thrill as I did when I was six, reading the opening sentences of Pillars of Pentegarn. Now, the world I step into is mine, but I still get to choose my own adventure, every time I write.

A.M.