At school, between the ages of 5 and 7, I had the adventures of Dick and Jane to contend with but I soon discarded them for The Gauls: Asterix and Obelisk, who provided far more entertaining adventures with characters I grew to love. Then, I found the books of Henry Treece: The Viking Sagas and so began my love for all things Viking and the concept of violence mixed with honour.
When I was 9, I discovered a strange, tattered old paperback thrown onto the pile our teacher had placed on the "reading table." I placed the Famous Five and Stig of the Dump to one side and picked it up. The monochrome picture of a dragon on the front cover drew me and although the pages were yellow and the print small, I was hooked after the first page. I couldn't put The Hobbit down. I ignored the words I didn't understand, picking up the meaning as I read and discovered a love for the written word. I bought my own copy of the book that year, which I still have on my bookshelves.
During my teens, I abandoned books for social pursuits; flashing disco lights and boys replaced my first loves and it was only when I was at a train station, expecting a long and boring journey that I bought Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. It was the first book my hand touched and my train was due, it rekindled my love.
I had forgotten about my first loves until I began writing in 2010 and then the memories flooded back. They were the books that transformed a rainy Sunday afternoon and would keep me awake long after I was supposed to be asleep at night. They say everyone has a book inside them; I have now discovered that I have more than one.