So, on Thursday Night, I got to meet RA Salvatore. Here’s a link to his site, if you want to learn a little more about him.
When I was 12 years old, the books I had read the most were Animorphs. I loved’em more than anything. I read those, and the Chrestomanci stories, (There were 4 of them back then) and a whole host of other stories that weren’t fantasy novels.
I had only ever read one other Fantasy book before this one. It was DragonLance’s “Dragons of Summer Flame”. (I apparently have a thing for picking up books out of order. I guess I should start the Shannara series on book 5?) I got that from one of the few friends I’d made in Florida. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me read another Fantasy novel. One day in late 1999, probably around August before school started back up, I was out on the truck with my mother. Out of the blue, my mother hands me a book. It’s called “The Demon Spirit” and it’s by a guy called RA Salvatore. She says to me, “I think you’ll really like this book.”
She was right.
I inhaled that book. Even though it was the second book in the series, I loved it. Elbryan was such an interesting character to me, and Pony was brilliant. Markwart was clearly the most evil bad guy I had ever encountered, (which says something when you compare him to the ruthlessness of Visser 3 and the corrupting influence of Queen Takhisis) and the Elves were amazingly cool.
I was hooked. From that moment on, I was all about Fantasy. It wouldn’t be until I was 15 that I would finish the Demon Wars trilogy, but that didn’t matter. I started reading Forgotten Realm novels when I was 14, starting with the Time of Troubles trilogy, and circling back around to the rest of the Dragon Lance novels before finally buying the rest of the DemonWars series. But I was hooked, and hard. I’ve been a fantasy lover for 16 years.
My love of fantasy books is responsible for most of where my life is right now. It’s hard for some people to pinpoint an exact moment in their life when an event caused a massive shift in who they are. I was thinking about this last night, and my massive tectonic shift was when my mother handed me that book.
Without it, I never would have gotten an interest in Magic: The Gathering. Which means that in September of 2001, I never would have sat down at the table and asked some guys to teach me how to play. If I had never sat down at that table, I never would have met my best friends: Jordan, Steve, and Eric V. Had I never met them, I’d have never met Patrick, OtherEric, Leif, or Pat. I wouldn’t have ended up with a job in 2004 working at MCI, or McDonalds after that fell apart. All in all, I wouldn’t be sitting here, today, writing this. From behind my large desk, (which Steve notified me about so I could buy it) in my 3 bedroom house, (rental) waiting for my friends to show up to do some gaming today.
So getting to meet the guy that was able to so profoundly and intrinsically change my life, (not to mention reinforce a love for reading and a desire to write) was an amazing opportunity, and one I had to take. So I drove up to meet him, and shook his hand, and got him to sign too many books. (Giving away two next weekend at GAME, though, so that was OK.)
He was really down to earth. He seemed to enjoy talking with the fans. He had lots of really good and interesting stories to tell, (the way Drizzt Do’Urden was born was hilarious, comical, and had just that hint of TV Magic Destiny to it that made it seem like a spark of fate.) and it was a real pleasure getting to meet him and shake his hand.