Pretty much anything that was creative. I loved making stuff! One time, I made a necklace out of bubble gum. After carefully putting on my gum necklace, I learned that gum, though pliable, is not the best component to use for making jewelry.
When you were a child, did you ever have a moment when you decided that you were going to be a writer when you grew up?
No! I did well on my writing assignments in school and I loved reading books, but as a child it never crossed my mind to become a writer.
What audience did you have in mind for your career as a writer-adult or children?
At first, I didn’t have any audience at all in mind. I was writing for myself only and it had always been an incredibly personal escape for me. It was many years before I actually started sharing my work with other people. I decided to publish in the children’s genre because kids are the most fun to tell stories to. Sometimes I still feel like a kid myself--a 6’2”, 190 lb bald kid.
Do you focus on fiction or nonfiction?
I focus on writing nonfiction--ficticiously.
Do you do other types of writing?
I write poems and song lyrics. I also write in journals. I have tons of them packed away in boxes. It’s such a trip to look back, years later, and read them.
Where do you get your ideas?
All over! I never know when inspiration is going to suddenly attack me, so I usually carry a small notebook to jot down ideas as they come. I get a lot of ideas while I’m driving my car, walking through the grocery store, cleaning the house or during some other daily task. One time, I was doing some work in my front yard and found these old stepping stones that were buried under the soil. Weeds and grass had grown over them. They’d been there for years and I had never really noticed them. I sat on the porch and wrote about these stepping stones for like 3 hours. Some of the most mundane things in life inspire me. I love it when that happens.
What really triggers your imagination?
Music! Especially, when I’m driving and listening to music. At times, I become so lost in my imaginative zone that I forget where I’m going or drive miles past my intended exit off the freeway. I always pull over and park when this happens because I like to write while I’m experiencing the emotion of a particular moment. I don’t recommend this form of on road creativity.
Where did you get the idea for THE NIGHTMARE NAVIGATOR?
I had a lot of bad dreams as a child and periodically as an adult. I would try to recognize when I was having a nightmare and explore ways to get myself out of it. I wrote a poem which later evolved into my book, THE NIGHTMARE NAVIGATOR. I wanted to share some fun advice to help alleviate some of the bedtime anxiety that restless dreamers experience. The thing about bad dreams, you never know when you’re going to find yourself in the midst of one. It’s nice to be prepared.
What do you want kids to most take away from your school visits?
I want them to know that even though they are young, they have their very own unique voice and their opinions matter. I understand that not all kids enjoy writing. To make the best of it, I encourage them to write about things that they like or interest them. Stuff that really makes them feel something. When there is a personal connection or emotion attached, those feelings and that passion will naturally be absorbed and come across into the work. Mostly, I want them to take away smiles on their faces, a fond memory and hopefully a few sparks of inspiration.