I grew up in south Georgia in a land of story tellers. People sat on porches and around fireplaces and told stories, often the same story over and over, sometimes exaggerating a little or a lot. My mother read to me until I memorized my picture books, then I pretended to read them myself. As soon as I figured out that books had authors, I knew that was what I wanted to be. The greatest day in my childhood was the day I demonstrated to the children's librarian at the Carnegie Library that I could read and got my own library card at age six. I was only allowed to check out two books at a time on my card and two on my mother's card. Several times a week I rode my pony and later my horse to the library, tied him to the telephone pole outside the children's room and checked out four new books which I devoured. I always hated to let go of the characters in the end. So after I finished a book, I continued the stories, making up further adventures that went on and on. My favorites were mysteries and animal books.