I first learned about the power of words when, at the age of 14, I picked up a torn copy of The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. It blew me away. I devoured his other books in quick succession: Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451. I didn’t just read his books; I lived them. His novels and short stories were my secret world, not just a place of escape, but a universe where my imagination could soar beyond the limits of time and space. In high school I discovered other writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I fancied myself to be Strider or John Carter and made a sword from a machete, complete with a leather sheath.
My English teacher insisted that we try creative writing ourselves. To my surprise, I enjoyed it immensely. From time to time, there were fleeting thoughts about writing my own novels. By the time I went to college to study economics and philosophy, reading and writing were an essential part of my life. Along the way, I spent time in Japan and learned to read Japanese. Then came law school and work in international law firms. I still made time to read, but my writing consisted of drafting corporate documentation. It taught me once again the power of words, not only to stimulate our imaginations, but also to control the flow of money around the globe.
As time passed, I felt the urge to write my own novels. My inner voice said it couldn’t be done, that novel writing was for other, loftier minds. Then one day, I got tired of the inner voice telling me what I could and couldn’t do. With it screaming in my ears, I grabbed my laptop and began to write the kind of books I wanted to read. The rest is, well, history.