What books influenced you most when you were growing up?
One of my favorite books of all time was FOLLOW MY LEADER by James B. Garfield. I also loved the Tom Swift series about a boy inventor, and The Hardy Boys. Later, the James Bond books by Ian Fleming captured my imagination and let me travel the world.
When you were a child did you ever have moments when you decided thatyou were going to be a writer when you grew up?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I wrote plays that were performed and brought to other classes and schools, and by high school I was writing stories, editing the school newspaper and writing and directing stage shows. Every time I decided on a different career to pursue, I would get books on the occupation and study it. Eventually, I realized that the jobs I wanted were the versions I read about in books or saw in movies and on TV, so I decided I wanted to write those stories.
When you went to college, were you already pursuing a writing career?(or a career in illustrating? or just art in general?)
When I went to college, I already knew I wanted to work in entertainment, especially film and television. I created a major combining business and accounting with the historical study of cinema and the art of film production. The university required a comprehensive plan of study to create an independent major. After I graduated, my advisor told me I had included more “requirements” than most other majors, but the whole experience taught me about the power of writing – I got to create a college major! What was your first job when you graduated from college? Before I started college, I got my first job working at a movie theatre, so I could see the movies. I continued to work through college, at the theatre, for the college cable channel, and on radio reading for the blind. In my senior year, I worked part-time for the public library, coordinating a cable access project to help patrons write and produce their own local television shows. After I graduated, I continued to oversee the cable project before I moved to Los Angeles to work in the film and television industry.
Have any of your books earned special recognition?
My first book, ESPETE: SIXTH GRADE SENSE received a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards (2009) and was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year 2008.
Do you work on more than one book at a time?
Yes! But I can only finish one book at a time. I think a lot of writer’s block is caused by having too many projects or worrying about too many pages. Some people feel they can’t write a whole book, but anybody who wants to write can find time to write one page or one paragraph. Just like walking, you put one word in front of the other and soon you have a story.
Do you write every day and do you have set hours that you work?
I “write” all the time, making notes on stories or figuring out a plot problem. I don’t sit with pen and paper (or computer) as often as I’d like, but I set up a regular schedule when I have a deadline. I finished ESPETE when I began training in martial arts (another subject that will be featured in an upcoming project). If I have all the time in the world, I can always write later, but if I only have ten hours a week to write, then I will write almost all of that time. I also found that the more I write, the easier it is to write. Whether it is a letter to Grandma, a film script or a novel, writing is a talent that improves with experience.
When is your next book going to be in book stores?
ESPETE: PSYCHIC HOOP DREAMS will be available in Summer 2010, along with ESPETE’S PSYCHIC DEAM JOURNAL, a non-fiction companion book by parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach. Also look for ESPETE’S PSYCHIC JOKE BOOK, which will feature the first ESPete comic
When you do school visits, what question do children ask you most?
One of the questions I get most often is, “Do you have ESP, or extra-sensory perception?” It took me by surprise at first: Why would someone ask if I can read minds just because I wrote a book about a sixth grader who can? I can read minds, though, and so can everyone else, by picking up a book and reading the mind of the author.