People might wonder why I decided to become a writer and I have a simple answer: If it weren't for reading and writing, I don't believe I would have survived. My story is similar to many others: My father beat my mother and abused drugs and alcohol. Anger, fear and uncertainty litter my childhood memories. My most vivid memory of my father's violence is of being at the kitchen table trying to eat dinner and him coming home from work in an angry mood. He saw what my mother had made him for dinner and said, "I work all day outside in the sun and this is what you make for dinner?"