Here's the answer in one succinct word: Because.
Because I was raised on all sorts of tales of things other-worldly, from learning that my ancestors were serfs on the estate of Vlad the Impaler, the role model for Dracula to having my mom read Tarot cards at my sixteenth birthday party.
Because on many a summer evening I went with my mother and sister to the Spiritualist Church's summer camp near us for message services, where a medium relayed messages from the other side to those in attendance.
Because my older sister and I laid in the back of the old station wagon at the drive-in movies (yeah, I'm old enough to remember both station wagons and drive-ins) and watched what I'm still positive was a UFO flitting around the sky.
My parents subscribed to FATE magazine, and I grew up reading about poltergeists and spooky things that go bump in the night. My grandmother often told the story about how every time a bird banged against her window, she'd hear the next day that someone had died.
Come on, now, with a childhood like this, how could I not grow up to write paranormal stories?
My mother and grandmother were both teachers, and I was reading at age three. By the time I was ten, I had graduated to adult books. My parents were rabid opponents of book censoring and so we could read whatever we wanted, to the dismay of our local librarian.
Once, and only once, the stern and unforgiving librarian forbade us to check out a book we wanted. As soon as my mother found out, she drove the seven miles into town, grabbed the book and slammed it on the counter.
The face-off began. The librarian stood on one side, hands palm-down against the desk. My mother stood on the other.
"I want this book," my mother said.
"You're going to give it to her," Ms. Librarian said, the word "her" turning into a sneer.
My mother leaned close and said, "It's none of your business who reads this book once I leave, and you can't refuse to let me check it out."
My mother won, of course; never argue with a teacher. That's one important lesson I learned that day. Another was that whether it's reading Ray Bradbury at the age of eleven or trying to check out "The Devil's Advocate" at sixteen, don't let yourself be buffaloed by a librarian -- or else go tell your mother.
Which, of course, does not apply to my grandchildren, mind you. Huge fans of the Twilight books and movies, they're dying to read my Shadow Ancient vampires series. And I've assured them they're quite welcome to – as soon as they turn eighteen.
You see, another thing I've learned in life is that when their mama says no, it's usually in my best interest to agree.
Cammie will be giving away a University of Kentucky travel mug filled with candy and a CD of Out of the Shadows to one commenter. The winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday night. Stop back by to see if you won.