I BOOK ORDERING
grew up in North Carolina and
an ardent fan of anything
smacked of sports, crawdads,
balls, forts built in the woods,
codes, bicycles without
butter pecan ice cream,
snow. I was, however,
uninterested in writing --
or any academic aspect of school,
for that matter -- never imagining
at the age of thirty-five, I would become a published author.
And yet after two unrelated college degrees, a year living in
Japan, and ten years of teaching experience, that is what happened.
Life, it seems, is full of who'd-a-thought-its.
live in Corvallis, Oregon, with my wife, Debbie, my two daughters,
Kelsey and Amy, and our cat, Emma. When not writing or in classrooms
talking with children and teachers about the writing process,
I enjoy hiking, skiing, canoeing, camping, mountain biking, music,
jogging, mountain climbing, playing the bass, and reading.
after many books published and awards won, at times it still amazes
me that writing is my profession. It was such a difficult process
for me when I was a kid; I can really identify with the reluctant
writer in school today. Everything seemed to get in the way of
my completing stories: from being left-handed, to my poor spelling
skills, from punctuation woes, to especially a lack of ideas.
Fortunately, the right people came along at the right time and
helped me see past the hurdles, emphasizing instead the joy of
the work and the satisfaction to be had in trying to uncover the
important truths that can come out of fiction. Now I carry a small
notebook at all times and am always on the lookout for material
I can use in a story: ordinary people that would make good characters,
the funny, telling, or poignant glimpses of life that are triggered
by what I see and hear, and the wonderfully wise things people
will say at the most unexpected times.
I still labor through my stories, wrestling with the spelling
beast and the punctuation monster, writing and rewriting, then
rewriting some more, until I glean my best, but the process has
become one of pleasure instead of pain. I love doing it, and I
love sharing it with others. The boy who couldn't imagine himself
a writer, now can't imagine himself anything else.