Q: I did read your brief bio on your blog, but I was hoping you could tell me a little more in depth about yourself. Where are you originally from? What brought you to Vassar? Have you always been interested in writing? Family?
I'm originally from Kalamazoo. I was an executive with the Boy Scouts and served this area from 1988-1991. I loved Vassar from the first time I saw it: the people I met were great, I like the look and feel of the town, and the proximity to Saginaw and Flint.
I met my wife—who is from here and teaches at the high school—when we served on camp staff together. We lived in Midland when we were first married, then moved to the Chicago area, then Wisconsin, then Ohio with my job with the Boy Scouts. When I got ill in 2005 (the illness I describe in the book Green Goblin) and decided to leave the Boy Scouts to pursue a writing career, it seemed only fair and natural to move back to Tanya's hometown. I'm glad we did. I love it here!
I have always been interested in writing. I wrote my first short story in third grade, and I've been writing ever since. I didn't think much of it, and actually thought I wasn't very good at it. In high school I competed and won trophies in the children's storytelling section of forensics tournaments and took second place in the state using a children's story I wrote. I still didn't think I was very good at writing.
In college I was toying with a novel manuscript—I can't remember the premise or anything about it—and tossed the draft into a wastebasket in the student union. The director of the Reagan Scholarship fished it out of the wastebasket. He was impressed and set up my mentorship with Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Clive Cussler. All three of those authors told me I could write...and I believed them. I'm very grateful for their encouragement.