Since 4th grade, or about 9 years old, my interest has been in ciphers, codes, secret languages, mysterious alphabets like Deseret and Shavian that are designed for English to dash the 3500 spelling exceptions and make English spelling consistent. I also dabbled in invisible inks like lemon juice and that stinky onion juice (which I cried over and the smell of the message kind of gave away that their was a smelly hidden message there, ha, ha.) I had a code and cipher pen pal starting in about 7th grade. He sent me messages from far away places on dissolving paper using a bookworm code from our chosen book. He said he got it from a James Bond book but as time moves forward I think from maybe a more clandestine source. By the way my many great grandfather in the 1700's was named James Bond. A more recent relative was a famous painter named John Bond, who painted some murals in Arizona State of the United States in the 1900's. We had an oil hung in our house growing up. Alas, my first code and cipher pen pal and my first cousin who lived locally later died in a mountain traffic accident which crushed my soul. Later in Junior or High School the Zodiac Killer was killing his victims all around me, East, North and South of me. I really thought he was a guy I hated two doors down, but alas that was not probably that sick perv in this case, but rather a different one. In high school I was given a laboratory room that I shared with just one other science research student. There were 3 such rooms and I was given my own key for it. I re-invented a secret formula for developing all liquid invisible inks. I really liked it when I could develop the distilled H2O ink formula! My instructor liked it so much he contacted me 30 years later to see what I did with my life. I helped head a magnetic levitation train route project. My materials were used by U.C. Berkeley in high speed train studies. I am on an international website, ( from <http://cecaust.com.au/main.asp?sub=media&id=lpactv_archive_20101124.html> which no longer has my video, just the blurb there still exists, but the video has been archived here for posterity 1 mile below ground in the State of Washington. <https://web.archive.org/web/20110218215127/http://cecaust.com.au/main.asp?sub=media&id=lpactv_archive_20101124.html> ) I was an elected local politician for a while and headed up a successfully campaign for a Proposition that won at the polls. Since leaving office I found a new code and cipher pen pal who lived at my house and since moved away. I received a cipher that is entirely visible but the color mixing hides the message in the noise of other colors until the proper wave length of light is reflected off of it to accentuate the needed information so decryption can proceed. It uses cryptography and steganography, yet all colors are totally visible. My interest for the last 5 months has been working with phonetic alphabets with strange glyphs. I kind of addicted to them right now. If you have an interest in Deseret in particular, please contact me. I have been trying to find a cursive version of Deseret for faster writing.
Besides loving worlds like from Tolkien, Lewis, Nesbit, Macdonald and others , I really got a start world building from trying to create a fictional world of the lizard-folk found in the depths of the Stygian abyss in the excellent game Ultima: Underworld. In my spare time besides writing I like to doodle, play ukulele and design analog games. My favorite book is Les Miserables, and I tend to read quite a bit of older books, though of new books I lean towards fantasy and science fiction (many times young adult, since that is what I tend to write) with some non-fiction once in a while.
I'm currently reading "The Light Fantastic" By Terry Pratchett and "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee.
I created a concountry (Tundria, or rather its Hungarian equivalent Tündérország = Fairy Country) at age 7 or so. Its principal language (Tundrian) came after, in my mid teens, when I discovered the pleasures of Romance languages, and decided to make my own. A full grammar and extensive dictionary are online on my web site. What books do I read? Fiction (science-fiction, classics, other stuff, preferably in the original - I am reading Murakami in Japanese right now), linguistics, archeology, history, anything that grabs my fancy. What did I study in school? Mathematics, physics, linguistics, languages, librarianship.