As my birthday present to myself I snagged a post by a guest author for today, and she’s one of my favorite new authors! The Fantasy Cafe is happy to welcome Ann Aguirre, author of the immensely entertaining space operas Grimspace and Wanderlust and the forthcoming urban fantasy novel Blue Diablo (release date April 7). Below Ann talks about her experiences with reading fantasy and offers the chance for one of you to win a copy of Blue Diablo!

My Life-long love

I love fantasy. I always have.

My first memory of reading a fantasy novel: I was eight years old, and someone was in the hospital. I suspect it was one of my grandparents, but I cannot be sure because I had a copy of The Hobbit in my hands. I’d checked it out at the library and I was lost in that book. I know I sat in that hard vinyl chair in the waiting room for hours, but I don’t remember any of that day. I remember only the book I was reading at the time.

Once I discovered Tolkien’s other works, I devoured those quickly. And then I realized he was the founding father of a whole, magical realm of fiction. Each week, I went to the mall and browsed my Waldenbooks for likely candidates. I discovered Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony, almost straightaway.

This is what I spent my allowance on as a kid. After I got my first job, I put part of the money in my gas tank; the rest I spent on books. In college, I was much the same, but there were certain authors I would buy instead of food. Sharon Shinn was one of them.

So clearly I can remember how I felt when I discovered her books for the first time. I was in a dungeon of a shop in Muncie, Indiana. I didn’t really want to be there because, frankly, they sold gaming stuff: Dungeons and Dragons, sourcebooks, dice, graph paper, and pewter miniatures. I wanted to be in a proper bookstore because I had a little money to spend. (My part-time job as a pharmacy tech paid all of $4 an hour.) But I had gamer friends (and I played too, but my great love has always been books), so I was hanging around the store, waiting for them. As I wandered, I eventually came upon a wire book rack. It mostly had TSR novels (Drizzt, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance) and maybe a few White Wolf stories. I was spinning it listlessly when this fey cover art caught my eye.

Hm, what’s this? I asked myself, plucking the book from the rack. The Shapechanger’s Wife. I read the back and it sounded wonderful, so I bought it at once. While they finished shopping, I hugged the paper bag to my chest and couldn’t wait to get home to start reading. In short, I devoured that one in a few hours and then from that point on, I would buy whatever she released, even if I had to dine on ramen… or nothing at all. The coolest thing about Sharon Shinn is that so many years later, I’ve had the pleasure of her reading my book for a blurb—and then I met her last summer. After that, I cried tears of pure joy over a dream come true. It’s so wonderful when your idols turn out to be even more amazing than you dreamed.

What authors do you love like that? A random commenter will win a copy of Blue Diablo.

Giveaway Rules
1) The winner will be selected within 24 hours.
2) The winner will be contacted via email by azteclady, therefore a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway (this can be through your own blog or website).

Thank you Ann! For the record, after reading this I almost bought Archangel by Sharon Shinn, but unfortunately my local Borders was out. That won’t stop me for long, though…