Until I was 18, I spent every summer except one (That one exception being spent on a shrimp trawler. That's something I'll never do again.) going back to my great grandparent's farm in North Carolina, USA. I worked the fields for area farmers to gain a little extra money. Until I was 8 years old I did things like pick cucumbers and strawberries and was paid by the pound. I wasn't actually forced to do this, I just did what everyone else was doing and the adults thought it was cute. After that I learned to drive the tractors and was paid by the hour. My great grandfather was known as the best liar in four counties and I always loved to listen to his stories. I guess that's where I got the knack for story telling.
When I turned 22 I joined the police force and got married. Those were two of the best decisions I ever made. I retired as a police sergeant and moved to the country. I was pretty much fed-up with city life and moving to the gentle rolling countryside of western Virginia was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I missed the country life of my youth and in the city I couldn't have a campfire in my backyard. One needs a campfire in order to tell good stories.
During the long lonely nights on the police force I had tried to start several novels (in my mind), but they were absolutely atrocious. It wasn't until I moved to the country, where I could have a campfire, that I started studying how to write a really good story. Six years and many campfires later I succeeded in producing my first original full length novel. I called it The Seventh Mountain.