The book that most affected me was R. A. Salvatore’s The Crystal Shard. Every writer has that moment when he or she is reading and thinks, “This? I could do this.” It is, of course, arrogance of the highest order. It is the sort of thought only a fourteen-year-old with the perfect combination of ignorance and hormonal self-aggrandizement thinks. I can follow the thread of my life, though, from writing this brief comment, back through attending Clarion West last year, to graduating from an MFA program, to my first completed novel, to my first fumbling attempts at fiction, to the moment when I looked up from this book and thought such a foolishly impossible thing: that I can do this. So thank you, Mr. Salvatore. Because if I’m very, very lucky — I can.