There are probably few other countries in the world in which the spirit of risk-taking is as much a part of our identity as it is here in America. Compared to Europeans, we Americans are far more likely to open our own businesses, and are much more accepting of the possibility of failure, according to a business article I read recently. Perhaps it has something to do with the type of people who have chosen to come to these shores starting 400 years ago: When you think about it, you'd have to be daring or perhaps a bit crazy to take the risk of starting over in a new place. It is the same way of thinking, I suspect, that is giving me a boost among booksellers, readers, and even other authors. With my first novel coming out October 2, a lot of people seem to be rooting for me simply because I've not taken a safe and easy path. At the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in Naples, Fla. last week, for example, several people took me aside and said they admired me for taking the leap and writing fiction. "You could have played it safe and kept writing nonfiction books for the rest of your life," one bookstore owner said. "But you took a chance." I was congratulated heartily, and definitely came away with the sense that people wish me well.