It is the first Monday of July, time again for the Question of the Month blog hop, hosted by Michael D’Agostino @ A Life Examined. This month, Michael asked us all a question:
What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?
This is such a complex question for me, because at different times in my life I fell in love with different writers, even different genres. But I’ll go with one writer who turned my life: Mercedes Lackey. Her fantasy novel Magic Pawn, one of the first in her Valdemar series, was the first novel of sword and sorcery fantasy I ever read.
You see, I grew up in Soviet Russia. Fantasy as a literary genre didn’t exist there. I always liked stories with adventures and magic, so I devoured what was available: myths, legends, and medieval romances. When we immigrated to Canada, I still didn’t know about the genre of fantasy, but the selection of books in English was much wider.
Once, I passed a bookstore and saw a book in the window display: a young man, dressed in some kind of medieval garb, hugging a white horse. I didn’t go in and buy the book but I remembered the cover and the first name of the author – Mercedes. I didn’t even remember her last name.
The image of the book cover haunted me, so some time later, I went to our local library and explained everything to the librarian. I asked if she could find the book for me. She did.
I was enchanted with the story and I fell in love with the entire genre. I started reading other books by Mercedes Lackey, and then other fantasy authors. Years later, I started writing fantasy as well.
I don’t read Lackey anymore; I found writers in the genre who suit me much better – Sharon Shinn, Patricia Briggs, Terry Pratchett, Wen Spencer, to name a few – but Magic Pawn by Mercedes Lackey will always have a special meaning for me. If I didn’t notice the book in that bookstore, I might never have become a fantasy writer.