First, you’re wondering about my name.
I knew it.
No, I’m not trying to copy J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling. J really is my first name—my whole first name. Nope, not J-A-Y and not J with a period. (Abbreviating it makes it longer.) It starts and ends with J.
Incidentally, if you throw a pen at a paper from at least five feet away, it nearly always spells my name.
“But what kind of a name is J?”—you’re still asking. Well, I’ll tell you. There was once a man named Melvin J. Ballard (whose middle name was Joseph, but he liked to abbreviate it). My grandpa was named J Ballard Washburn in honor of this man. But he just got the J (without the period). I was named after my grandpa, and I just got his J.
Which is nice.
After all, brevity is the soul of wit.
Now, a few facts about me:
I was born in the middle of skinwalker territory, in Arizona, practically on the Navajo Reservation. Yeehaw.
I grew up with my siblings in suburban Idaho—in a neighborhood with a few good bike jumps, a makeshift hockey court, and even a safe-house for sneaking video games. To the south we had open fields, which, back then, looked surprisingly similar to the Land of Prydain, littered with streams and trees and wildlife. It was magic. Out there my siblings and I actually lived the adventures you’ve read in my books.
Then I accidentally grew up. On accident—I mean it.
But lucky for me, I still find adventure here and there—in places where it’s easier for adults to see it, like Xi’an, Cuzco, and Stonehenge. Being a grownup also meant I had to become a productive member of society, so I decided that writing adventures would be the next best thing to living them. That’s what I do.
I’m glad you could join me—we have some exciting things ahead of us.