As a small child, my “library” consisted of a handful of picture books I barely even remember anymore. No surprise, really, as I didn’t actually learn to read until I was roughly nine years old. It wasn’t until the second grade that I learned the simple, but profound, fact that letters represented sounds, or that you could combine those letters and sounds to make individual words. Third grade taught me that combinations of words made sentences, sentences made statements, and statements represented ideas. This revelation compelled my nine year old self to reexamine my old picture books, but by then they were already insufficient. With no literature for older kids available to me, or even “young adult” stories as a step up in my growth, I made the leap to my parents’ modest selection of science fiction and fantasy novels. It was hard, but rewarding: the reading bug had bit me, and I never looked back. Now I’m looking to take the next step, and write stories of my own.
Along the way I’ve been a farm hand, a laborer at a paper mill, a college student, a substitute teacher, a death row prison guard, and a mail man. On the farm I learned about responsibility by helping to care for animals that couldn’t survive on their own. I also learned that, while hunting doesn’t bother me a whole lot, I’m too soft-hearted to put down a critter I helped raise. At the paper mill I learned what it meant to work myself to exhaustion, come home filthy, then force myself to get up and do it all over again the next day. In my college days I learned… a whole lot of stuff, but mostly how I’m better off by not taking myself too seriously. As a substitute teacher I learned how insufferable I must have been as a kid. I also learned how to be very, very patient. Being a prison guard taught me how to be cordial to anyone and expect cordiality in return. It also taught me that the television shows about prisons are ten percent fluff and ninety percent wishful thinking. Working death row got me to thinking about, well, death; that helped inspire the book. Being a mail man has taught me that there’s always something new to learn, and that there’s no such thing as a genuine commercially sold “all terrain vehicle.”
Writing has been an untold pleasure for me; if my readers take half as much enjoyment in the reading as I did the writing, then I shall be a lucky man, indeed.