When I was in the third grade, I wrote a lot of stories.

My third grade teacher was the best and I will never forget her. She read us countless books by authors like Chris Van Allsburg who would take us to far-off places and show them to us through their words and magnificent illustrations. Then, our teacher would encourage us to tap into our own imaginations and create our own wild tales, full of adventure and vivid imagery.

That was my favorite time of day. I can still picture those yellowish-green lined composition papers with four big lines on each page that helped teach young kids how to write. I would gobble up dozens of pages for my story—the words flowed in my mind faster than I could write them down. I would be writing on my 10th page while my peers would be struggling to fill a second page. I was in my element. Then, after we were finished, our teacher would share those stories with our students. And as much joy as I got out of writing it, it was no comparison to the feeling of accomplishment and pride when my story would elicit smiles and raucous laughter from my fellow students.

I still had many years to go through, but I think that was when I first knew I wanted to be a writer. To me, writing is something you do because you have to do because you love it so much. For me, writing is like breathing. If I didn’t have my writing, if I didn’t have my books, I’d be nothing.

It’s not about the fame and it’s not about the money. My goal as a writer is not the money, because then it becomes a job. If it becomes a job, or becomes stressful, I would love it less. If I could get my books and stories out there and didn’t need to cover the cost of every day living, I’d do it for free. For me, it’s about the entertainment value. It’s about the power of what books can do. If you’re having the worst week, reading will let you temporarily forget about the troubles you’re facing and get lost in another world. Books leave you wondering about its characters long after you’ve put them down, forgetting that they aren’t actually real people. Books will keep you out of trouble, because if you have a book in your hand, you will never be bored.

And that’s what I want.  I want  to humor you, teach you, enrich your lives. I want to make your day better. I want you to get lost in a new world and remember the characters even without the book in your hand. I want you to lose track of time because your nose is in a book. I want you to take a couple of extra minutes at lunch because you just had to finish the chapter. I want to entertain you and keep you out of trouble. I want your face to light up when you walk into a bookstore and feel inspired. I want you to go online and look to see if you can find any other books by me because you just loved the one you finished. I want to take you on that roller coaster of emotion the way only a book can do.

Books have done so much for me and now I want to give back. They have enriched my life so much, and I want to do the same for readers like you.