I am an avid reader and have been for most of my life. My reading interests vary widely and I read whatever catches my eye, but I would have to say that I gravitate most toward fantasy, some science fiction and military espionage fiction. A few of my favorite authors include Gorge R.R. Martin (and yes I read all of the A Song of Ice and Fire series long before there was and HBO show), Robert Jordan, C.S. Friedman, Larry Correia, Taylor Stevens, Jonathan Maberry, etc, etc, the list goes on and on.
I began thinking about and creating my own characters probably as early as I began reading. I didn’t put many of those early characters or stories down on paper though. It wasn’t until well into my twenties that I really began to try writing my ideas down. I struggled along without any formal training (I still don’t have any), writing little bits, chapters, scenes, character bio’s, and the like, but never sharing my work with others. My desire to have my writing read and possibly one day have it published, came about the time that I turned thirty. I don’t know what the catalyst was or where the desire came from, but about that time I started voraciously consuming books and other materials on the writing and story crafting process. I found Steven King’s book, On Writing, particularly inspiring and I am still an avid listener of the Writing Excuses Podcast. (http://www.writingexcuses.com/)
Most of my writing and creative thinking over the past few years has been directed towards building and fleshing out my own pseudo-medieval world. My reading has influenced my world-building significantly and my hope is that when presented, my world will have a gritty, realistic feel, reminiscent of Martin. I intend to have a much more active magic system, along the lines of Jordan or Correia though. If I can succeed in creating a rich and versatile world, my intent is to use it as a backdrop to explore many different stories ideas, the way the Star Wars Universe is used in the novel world. Alongside the world-building work, I am currently writing, what I hope will become the first book set in my new world.