My love for fantasy is deeply embedded in my life.
When creating characters, I like to explore their backstory and personalities, and one way I do that is looking at their lives as a whole. I personally believe each of us has a seed of personality that begins in the womb, and that multiple variables and experiences will shape us over time. It is an ongoing process from the beginning of life to the end. Looking at others and myself while developing characters has been helpful, and I discovered that my love of fantasy, which has heavily shaped my life, goes all the way back to early childhood.
Visiting a local theater, one of my first exposures to fantasy was the 1981 movie, Dragonslayer. Galen’s adventures with Valeria and Ulrich against the dragon Vermithrax left a long lasting impression on me. Still one of my favorite portrayals of a dragon on film ever. Reign of Fire and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit did well with the dragons.
Disney’s 1963 Sword in the Stone, the animated 1977 The Hobbit, 1981 movie Excalibur, the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon (1983-1985), and Black Cauldron in 1985 all solidified my love for fantasy. Wrapped into all of that was plenty of science fiction that drew me into the fold as well. Star Wars does have swords after all. 🙂
I began reading books in early elementary, and by the summer after 5th grade I decided to read Tolkien. In downtown Grandbury Texas, there was a store called ‘Books on the Square’. The ladies were very nice and seemed excited that I was a young reader. I worked with my father everyday for $5, and I spent just about all of it from that summer visit at that store. I bought plenty of Choose Your Own Adventure books, Time Machine books, and a boxed set of The Lord of the Rings that included The Hobbit.