CliffsNotes: Born in the Pacific North West, but raised in So Cal. I love all things superhero. Pizza addict. Wrestling’s NOT fake. Favorite movie is The Goonies.
The Expanded Version: I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. Actually, my first dream job was probably like a lot of other little boys. I wanted to be an NFL quarterback. Unfortunately, genetics saw to it that I’d be a late bloomer, develop a slight asthma problem, and only reach 5’9″.
After my NFL stardom dreams were dashed, then I wanted to be a cartoonist. I discovered Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, Mutts, and of course Peanuts. I’d always been artistically inclined, and when I saw comic strips telling stories, I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist. Of course, the newspaper industry shrank drastically and then I discovered comic BOOKS. I still didn’t want to be a writer, I just wanted to draw comic books. But discovering comic books was when I discovered my love of storytelling, which I should’ve already seen.
Growing up with my brother and cousins, we’d play, as I’m sure all little kids did, but we told stories. Our imagination was key in whatever we were playing and for one reason or another, my imagination has never left. So, looking back on my journey to becoming an author, I should’ve seen it a mile away. The first hint was in seventh grade, during English class, where I wrote somewhat of a horror story (or as scary as my mind could conceive as a 12 year old who’d never been a horror story reader). Not everyone had to read theirs to the class, but if you volunteered you got extra credit, so being the over-achiever I was throughout school, I volunteered. Even now, looking back on it, I was enthralled by my classmates reaction. They loved it.
In high school, it wasn’t until senior year that I took journalism and wrote about everything from reviewing our local Del Taco (because, of course, I was writing which local fast food had the best french fries and Del Taco won) to covering our sports teams. My friends at school would always tell me I write good. That they felt like they were watching whatever sport I was writing about. But I still didn’t think anything of it.
Even though I loved telling stories, I think I never connected the dots to wanting to be a writer because I was never a really big reader. As a matter of fact, you could say I was one of the many “boys who are reluctant readers”. I tried reading books, but they were just TOO SLOW. I’d get bored. I can still get bored if the author has long winded descriptions about their setting. I did take drama all four years of high school though and I loved reading scripts. It was fast. Here’s the setting – boom. This character says this. That character say that. Exit scene. It was fast enough that it kept my attention, but I was still getting the whole story.
Once I realized what kind of stories I loved reading, that’s when I realized I wanted to be a writer and what kind of writer I wanted to be. I like to write fast paced, lots of dialogue, some good action, but there’s got to be something that hooks you.
Then I discovered YA, and I love it. It talks about things we feel when we’re growing up, but a lot of those issues never really leave us. We still deal with heartache and triumph and loss, and all those things. And I know some might argue, but I think people still want to feel the way they did back when they were growing up, becoming an adult, dealing with those losses and triumphs. If we didn’t, why do so many people look back on their “younger years” fondly.
Anyways, this wasn’t really a page to deliver you a speech, but all those little things, have made me into who I am. And most of all I love to tell stories and just let my imagination take to places. Albert Einstein said it best when he said: “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”