I’m an Information Technology professional by day, and a children’s fiction writer by night. I also write short stories and very poetry. I’m currently working on my first middle grade novel – a dual protagonist story told from alternating perspectives.
I was born in Washington D.C. on Easter Sunday and was delivered by Dr. Robert Rabbit (yes, go ahead and laugh). I grew up in the little town of New Palestine on the far east-side of Indianapolis where I graduated high school in 1989. I received my B.A. in Liberal Arts at I.U.P.U.I in 1995 majoring in Philosophy with minors in Creative Writing and Political Science. I currently live in Indiana with my wife, our four children and one incontinent poodle.
If you’re interested in reading some silly details about me try THIS.
———————————— READING ————————————
I wasn’t much of a reader growing up. I thought of myself as a “slow” reader because it always took me longer to finish reading assignments in school than my friends. I felt self-conscious about it, and so I never learned to read for fun.
To compensate when school reading was required, I started choosing characters from movies or television, appropriate to the textbook subject matter, and then I’d imagine them there with me (sitting behind a desk, pacing around, standing behind a podium…). As I read, I’d actively “hear” the words on the page in their voices, as if they were telling me what was in my textbooks. This made ALL the difference in getting through it. There’s just something infinitely cool about being taught history by Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Despite my lack of interest in reading, the only book I do recall reading purely for pleasure was The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Leguin. My mom had picked it up at a garage sale somewhere and one day I found it a bookshelf in our house. The cover really grabbed my attention, so I decided on impulse to give it a try. It felt like it took forever to finish it, but this single book opened me up to the thrill of Fantasy and Science Fiction and kept alive in me the hope that someday reading wouldn’t feel like so much work.
Incidentally, it wasn’t until I was in my 30s, well after college, that I finally recognized my “slow” reading was really just a learned habit of reading at a speaking pace. It was something I’d always done and because I was to afraid to tell anyone about my “problem” no one was able to help me. I never knew I didn’t have to actively hear each word in my head as I read it. (Hindsight, right?) I immediately went in search of information about Speed Reading. This article from wikiHow made all the difference. (Method 1, number 7 was my problem.) Also, the attached video fundamentally changed the way I read. I now happily enjoy between 50 to 75 books a year, just for pleasure. :)
———————————— WRITING ————————————
My earliest fiction writing involved me transcribing Saturday morning cartoons using a tape recorder and an old manual typewriter. This was my first real experience with really taking notice of how narration and dialog and paragraph indenting work together on the page. My fascination with writing fiction began right there.
Later, in junior high, I wrote stories of my own using my friends as characters, and then I’d read them aloud around the lunch table. Unfortunately, those stories were highly influenced by popular 1980s movies like Red Dawn and slasher films like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Halloween films. (What were my parents thinking?) Anyway, in these stories, my friends and I were the heroes and the kids we didn’t like . . . um, they didn’t make it. (It’s worth noting that harmless kids like me creatively writing the kinds of stories I did in school would be expelled today. So sad.)
I didn’t do any significant writing during high school, but in college I added a minor in Creative Writing to my Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. After college, I joined the workforce and found my way into a career in Information Technology. Sometimes I get to do fun stuff like play around with Google Search Appliances, but mostly I manage projects with some hands-on problem-solving from time to time. (Incidentally, advanced problem-solving skills translate really well to working out plotting issues in a novel!) While my IT career provides for me and my family, my heart remains with writing fiction.
When I turned 30 I made the decision to return to the novel project which was my undergraduate Advanced Creative Writing final. I didn’t want to look back one day only to wish I had finished the book I’d started. When when I turned 40 I joined SCBWI so I could connect with other writers who are trying to make a go at this “publishing thing”. It’s taken years (so far), and I’m still not where I want to be with this book, but I haven’t given up. I’m getting there…one word at a time.