Welcome. WOW! You are quite a writer yourself. My mom was the stable influence in my life as well. She handed me Carrie when I was 16 and I've been hooked ever since. She never restricted what we read or watched either.
Like many others here, I have been reading Stephen King since I was very young. He was my mother's favorite author (her second was Dean Koontz, but don't hold that against her) and her bookshelf was filled with everything he had written up to the point that my story begins.
I was always an avid reader, starting from the age of 3. Of course they were your basic Dr. Suess and whatnot, but my mother always encouraged me to read more or less whatever I wanted.
Starting from around 5 or so I started realizing just how much horror type shows, movies, and books my mother was interested in. Late nights watching bad cheesy films and TV shows and whatnot. It was always around and she was never shy about letting my brother and I watch along with her.
When she wasn't watching, she was reading. I read a lot as well.
On my 7th birthday she gave me The Eyes of the Dragon. The original Hardback with the green, scaly dust jacket.
Boom, I fell in love and that was the beginning of my love affair with actual novels.
I was voracious ever after. She never told me no when I wanted to read anything that was on the bookshelf.
There was always one constant in my life.
There was always one addition to that, Stephen King.
She never missed a new release. Sometimes she'd read the new books first, sometimes I did. It was the one thing I could always share with her no matter what else was going on in the world. Hers, mine, or the world at large.
I spent my entire school years floating back and forth between her house and my father's. The library was my best and only friend. I went to more schools that there are grades.
But still, no matter where I was, she managed to get me a copy of whatever Mr. King released by hook or by crook. Either my own copy or she'd mail me hers.
My life was terrible, so I escaped to other worlds as often as I could.
This continued up until about High School when I was able to start working and started buying my own books. Because life was flighty, I generally tended only to buy King novels and only other books that I absolutely had to have. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for one. Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth for another.
I still have my originals that I bought back then.
I finally graduated and moved in with my girlfriend's family the day after. She and I got married a couple years later, went through college, and had a child with her. All the while, I was still a big reader any time I got the chance, and I would always make time for any release by King. (The final three books of The Dark Tower came out at a very interesting time for me to say the least.)
As soon as I graduated college is when the problems with my now ex-wife and I.
It was ugly.
I got very, very sick.
So sick, in fact that I ended up in the hospital.
My mother came to visit me while I was there and she had brought me a copy of Lisey's Story. I was so lost in my mind at the time that I didn't even realize a new book was out. She had to clear it with the doctor, but he happened to have already read it as he was a fan as well (odd coincidence?) but he approved it.
I was at a point in my life where I thought that love was an illusion, etc. Etc.
This one singular book. A wonderful love story, written by my favorite author, gave me hope when I thought there was none left in the world.
I just wanted an escape. I just wanted to be entertained. Something to take my mind off the constant clanging of dread in my soul, even if for just a moment. Just for a moment.
You see, I had already died twice. No, I will not go in to further detail.
This one book. With it's obscenely bright read dust jacket. With it's obscenely beautiful cover art. With it's obscenely beautiful story of love between a man and his wife, saved me.
I don't know what it is exactly that did it.
I reread it every couple of years (and I'll likely pull it off the shelf for yet another reading after Sleeping Beauties) trying to catch what it was about this particular book that means so much to me, but I never find it.
Maybe it was the ice, but I don't think so.
Maybe it's the remembrance of the good times with my ex, but I don't think so.
Maybe it's the remembrance of my own brothers, but I don't think so.
Maybe it's the remembrance of my own past, and I do think it's related, but I don't think it's the definitive reason.
It could also be that my mother brought this to me at the lowest moment of my life. At the very moment when I thought absolutely no one cared a lick for me and wouldn't miss me at all if I were gone from this world.
I am unsure of all of this.
But I'll keep searching.
Again and again, because every time I revisit Boo'ya Moon I come away with that feeling that kept me alive then.
Nothing I've ever read has had such a profound effect on me as this novel has.
My mother is gone now, and I no longer get to talk to her about your new book, or your new movie, or take her to see you on one of your book tours.
This past Saturday, I took my son (who has also become a fan of yours) to her favorite restaurant that she and I went to all the time. Then we went to see IT.
She would have loved it.
I cried before we went in the restaurant.
I cried again before the movie.
I cried again after.
Thank you so much for all of this, Steve (If I may be so bold.)
This book (and all of them, really) means more to me than I'll ever be able to explain.