So today it's the 165th anniversary of Bram Stoker's birth.
Stoker's Dracula is the one that did it for me: the single book that changed my life.
When I first read it - possbly aged 9 or 10; too young to understand a lot of what was going on, but captivated anyway - I experienced a revelatory moment and realised that this was the stuff I wanted to investigate for the rest of my life. I realised that horror was my kind of thing.
I came to the novel after watching the brilliant 1977 BBC adaptation, starring Louis Jordan as the Count. Again, I was probably too young to understand what I was watching, but I got it. Something just clicked. A few days later (it might have been a week, two weeks, a month,a year - when you're that young, time has no meaning), I managed to blag a copy from a schoolfriend. It was his mother's book. He sneaked it out of the house for me to borrow because I wouldn't shut up about the TV version. I can't remember who this guy was, but I'll be forever grateful. Because that book kickstarted it all for me.