Any remarks about my love of reading and writing have to start with my mother and father. My mom was an avid reader and wrote all her life — advertising copy, feature articles, stories, and letters. When we moved to Annapolis when I was ten, she was dismayed that the town had no library. She began drumming up support among city officials, and before long Annapolis had a branch of the Ozark Regional Library in a little city-owned building that had once been a chickenhouse. She served as its clerk for many decades, and today the much larger and better-equipped library building that serves Annapolis bears her name.

My father worked hard all his life, and his beloved habit after work was to wash off the rock dust and grime, have dinner, and then stretch out on the couch with the newspaper and the book of the day. He had his favorite genres, but he would read just about anything. And when he hit a passage he particularly liked, he would suppress a chuckle, then laugh out loud, and of course then he had to read it aloud for all of us.

How could I have turned out as anything but a dedicated writer and reader?