My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary yesterday. In so many ways, it doesn't seem that long, but I've treasured every day we've been together.
We met at Berea College in 1993, fell head over heels for one another, and married within a few months. Yes, most marriages don't last when the couple hasn't known one another very long. But, I knew from the moment she and I took a walk along the trails on Berea College's campus that she was the woman I wanted to spend my life with. We had so many common interests.
At the time our paths crossed both of us were at very low points in our lives. What we discovered wasn't a rebound, but we found the part that completed us. We're soulmates destined to walk the journey of life together.
Before I met Christal, I had stopped writing for nearly ten years. I had tried a couple of times to put words on the page but without success. After we started dating, she and I went to a bookstore on campus. We were looking at discount books, and she showed me a 3-in-1 set of Dean Koontz's books. She expressed how much she loved his books. So, later in the day, I returned to the store and bought the set to surprise her. Only, the surprise was on me.
When I got back to the dorm room, I started reading The Servants of Twilight. I loved the way Koontz wrote the different chapters from the POV of each character. By chapter four, I was hooked. I had to confess to her that I had bought the book for her, BUT I needed to finish reading the first book first. She laughed. Reading his work refueled my desire to write, which is why the dedication of my first book, Predators of Darkness: Aftermath states: "For my wife, Christal, who reignited my desire to write. Without her this book would not have been written. And you? You would not be reading this."
While Koontz's works influenced my early writing, Christal was the one who had introduced me to this books. I had never heard of him, and quite possibly I would never have sought the books out. When it comes to writing, she's been a great inspiration and early on, an excellent critic of how I was writing. If she read my work and thought it wasn't good, she told me, not in an impolite manner. As most early novelists do, we tell and don't show, and since she had read hundreds of books she really knew what worked. So I work feverishly on my craft, doing everything I could to learn how to improve my stories to draw in the readers.
I could write books on the things we've seen and shared during our twenty-three years together. The biggest blessings we've had together are our two children and our grandson. I love her for who she is, and I could never have made it this far in life without her. She's the best friend I have, and I hope we share our journey ahead for many more decades to come.