I included the following dedication in Escaping Paradise.
For my Grandmother, who always believed, and Piers Anthony, who told a young woman she had the talent to pursue her dreams.
Growing up, my Grandmother was the one who always encouraged me to write, and who shared what she knew about writing so that mine improved. She gets top billing in my first book. My only regret is that she didn’t live to see it happen.
And then there’s Piers Anthony. That’s a name that not everyone will remember. Piers Anthony is most well-known for the Xanth series and the Incarnations of Immortality. (Which is still well worth the read if you want some fun fantasy.)
Back in 1992, I was pregnant with my second child. I had started my first attempt at a novel. I read Wielding a Red Sword, by Piers, outside of the Xanth series, that resonated strongly with me. Specifically, the part of the story about Ligeia. I wrote to him after finishing the story, and to my surprise, he wrote back.
He ended up helping me with the start of my story, explaining ways to see the characters and the interplay between them. I still have all the letters. The thing he said that impacted me the most was when he told me that I had talent, and the concept of the story had promise. He encouraged me not to give up on writing.
I still haven’t finished that story, but it’s on the list. Only this year I finally understood the problem I was having with finishing it and I can now see the way forward clearly. I may do that after I finish the Salvation Triad.
Those few words of encouragement, coupled with the time and effort that Piers put into a young woman he thought could do something with her talent, are why I never gave up on writing and publishing my work. So, yes, Piers, this one is for you. Twenty years plus later, but thank you yet again for taking the time to encourage the seed to sprout!