I grew up in rural Wisconsin and spent most of my time reading, or in the woods, or reading in the woods. I always wanted to write, but tried for a while to be “practical” and “realistic.” I went to Michigan State University, and then to the University of California, Berkeley, and I learned many practical and realistic things, but mostly they just made me want to be impractical.
Now I live an impractical life. It’s not very realistic by grown-up standards, but it’s really, really good.
I received a letter from a kid in rural Wisconsin who wrote, “I’m just like Travis.” His teacher enclosed a note telling me that this kid generally hated books and school, but when they read Bluefish together in class, he loved it. I visited that school later in the year and met that kid. He asked me some wonderfully piercing questions about the book and the characters. I felt like he knew them better than I did. It was like seeing Travis get up off the page and come to life.
Connections like that are the most magical part of being an author. I decided I wanted to be a writer after reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. That book reached me in a way that nothing else had. It made me feel less alone in the world. If anything I write can do the same for someone else — that’s what I want.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I grew up in a summer camp for boys.
2. I was run over by a motorboat when I was twenty-one years old.
3. I probably know more Brady Bunch trivia than anyone you will ever meet.