Born the fifth of five children, Randy was the “surprise” child of his parents Homer and Beatrice Massey. At that time, the family lived in upstate New York on a 127-acre farm, and he has several memories from his younger days. Some are quite comical, while others are a little more “catch your breath” type of events for a very young man.
Playing with his two older brothers and two sisters was a normal afternoon and evening pastime. Hide-n-seek was the most popular game, and Randy can still laugh at the time one of his brothers couldn’t find him because the older brother had hidden him under an old 55-gallon drum. The drum was actually the “home base” for the game. He got there when the brother who was “it” had to run into the house to use the bathroom. When he came out, everyone was hidden, including Randy under the drum!
Several other memories: being stung for the first time by a hornet (a brother had stirred up the nest and then told him to run around in circles!); sleeping on the front porch during a hot summer night and the house being struck by lightning, sending a shower of broken glass onto everyone lying on that porch; picking oodles of wild berries that grew plentiful on the farm; watching Dad and brothers turn over some large concrete slabs from an old sidewalk and then spending hours watching the ants scurry everywhere; hearing about but not understanding the dreadful accident his oldest brother had suffered (the only survivor of a head-on collision—before seat belts!); moving from New York to Michigan when only five years old because Grandpa Smith was no longer with us and Dad was taking over the hardware store.
Randy attended kindergarten in New York, but the rest of his school days were spent in Michigan. With his older brothers’ and sisters’ influence, he grew to love books and reading. By the time he was eight, his mom was taking him to the local library twice a month. She was amazed at the number of books he zipped through and stood aghast when Randy was upset with the librarian over the checkout limit of five books at a time! Her solution: start bringing her young son there weekly!
Randy remembers his older brother introducing him to J. R. R. Tolkien at about the age of ten. He devoured The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (very upset over the “death” of Gandalf until he read the second book), and wanted more. At about that time, Dune was available in serial form in a monthly SciFi magazine, along with many other wondrous tales of fantasy. From there it was on to Asimov, Burgess, Clarke, Herbert, etc. Then came the classics: Verne, Burroughs, Dickens, Lewis, Carroll, Steinbeck, Stoker, Twain, Homer, and Dumas. The stage was being set, and a great foundation had been laid.
Also through these formative years, Randy viewed many of the great (and not so great) fantasy movies and television shows. One of Randy’s all-time favorites is Forbidden Planet. But again, time moved on while more seeds were being planted in his fertile mind. For many years, ideas and thoughts of being an author lie dormant, with an occasional sprout up now and then.
A story Randy penned at the age of twelve lay on a book shelf, gathering dust, until one day a creative writing assignment was given when he was in 11th Grade. The old tale was pulled down, reworked a little, and turned in. Not only was the short story given an A+ for a grade, the teacher read it to the class, declaring, “This is one of the best and most thought out fables from a young mind that I have ever seen.”
For whatever reason, life came along, and although the reading didn’t slow down much, work, cars, and girls soon filled the mind and heart of Randy. Thus, once again, many years passed before the right influences emerged to challenge him to pick up a pen and begin to write again. That defining moment finally arrived with the filming of Lord of the Rings. With a new passion and desire bursting from deep within, Randy began to lay out his first novel. Right from the get go he had the title: The Summoner.
Over the next several years, he constantly picked at it, modified it, and changed it, allowing the flow of his imagination drive him to complete what he had started. Randy’s main drive was to give readers something they had never seen or read before. He wanted to satisfy the deep yearning within all of us to sit down with an enthralling tale that takes us away to a different world, a place where we can lose ourselves and forget our troubles and cares for a few hours. The story truly had to be epic, heroic, intense, vengeful, dramatic, and magical! A powerful and gripping legend filled with dominant evil and astonishing good. Compelling sacrifice, undeniable love, bitter anger, violent hatred, extreme endurance, unending determination, and unrelenting purpose had to find their way into the pages of the legend. Prophecy, deep magic, strange and new creatures, and mystical weapons soon became entwined with the heroine’s life. The climax, the culmination of all the events that led up to the conclusion, had to be mind boggling and fulfill Randy’s overall theme: TAKING YOU BEYOND IMAGINATION!