... And now I write them. Weird, isn't it?!
I grew-up with a Mom who thought Harry Potter was an evil book who turned little children into witches just by reading it. While other kids were hiding drugs or drinking, I was finding ways to get to the book store and buy the next Harry Potter book and where exactly in my room to hide them before my parents found out.
And let me tell you, my Mom ranted on and on to me about how horrible these books were. In fact, for a long time I believed her, which led to me feeling intense guilt when I actually started reading the books. Although it was a pleasurable sort of guilt.
Eventually the truth came out. I admitted to my parents that I had been secretly hiding Harry Potter books and reading them. I told my Mom that I had no desire to become a witch and she was overreacting since many fairy tales that she liked, like Cinderella, also contained magic in them.
I know stereotypically, religious people are stuck in their ways, but that's not how my parents are at all. They're great people and while they still advise me on what is right versus what is wrong, they usually keep a pretty open mind. My Mom was upset at first, but eventually I convinced her to come to a Harry Potter movie with me. It was a midnight showing and I was nervous, but she wound up enjoying and loving the whole thing. Sometimes people will condemn something only because they know nothing about it.
The Harry Potter series were the first fantasy books I ever read besides the Chronicles of Narnia. I used to only read romance.
I enjoy the way fantasy takes you completely out of this world. I hate this place a lot of time with all the death, disease, poverty, and pain it holds. In fantasy, anything is possible. When I feel terrified of death, I can write about characters who control death (necromancers) or who are immortal. When I am poor, I can write about Princesses who live in castles and never want for anything.
It takes a lot of imagination and I love the challenge of writing fantasy (and by the way, I am lumping paranormal stuff in there as well, since I read it now interchangeably.) I never took writing seriously until I started writing fantasy novels. It's funny how that works, how I almost didn't become a writer, and if I hadn't, I'm pretty sure I'd be more conflicted about what I should do with my life right now.