Sigh. For so many, MANY reasons. Lets start with the first, most important.
1. I think I was about 7 and I can remember the day perfectly. It is one of those golden summer moments. I'm sitting on the floor in the classroom and the sun is shining through the metal-framed window and it's sunny outside but I'm about to go on a journey which, if I'm honest, I never really came back from. That wardrobe to Narnia? Yeah, it was a lot like that.
So, the teacher (whoever she was, I owe her big time), starts reading about hobbits. They're small and difficult to spot for us 'big folk'. Now I don't know about you but at 7 you can suspend disbelief at a moment. So I wasn't quite sure what I was hearing was fiction or just a true tale from long ago. Where there hobbits? If I was really quiet, could I spot one? Was there one living in my back garden?
I don't remember many details after that, but just a feeling. A tumble with teh dwarves as they escape the wood elves in their barrels. That moment Bard shoots his black arrow. The joy of the Battle of the Five armies and the sadness of the deaths of those we loved in its aftermath and the most fitting end for the Arkenstone. And if you've read CITY OF DEATH now you know why I did what I did with the Koh-I-Noor in the final few chapters.
That book changed my life in the most fundamental way. Fantasy became my genre. I've strayed away, sometimes for years, but eventually I come back. I really honestly believe I became a writer because of that one summer afternoon.
2. Does there need to be another reason?