I've always loved reading, but the first time I became really passionate about a book was when I read John Bellairs' "The Curse of the Blue Figurine" in, oh, third grade or so. Bellairs inspired my first timid steps into fantasy writing--and by "timid," I mean plans for a massive trilogy that would have taken several hundred thousand words to wrap up from where I fortunately abandoned it. My sister was my first reader and my first editor, and I can't say for certain how far my readership has expanded since then. No matter the quantity, I'm not sure they can equal her quality. She knows when I'm trying too hard.