I grew up in Hicksville, (that’s right, Hicksville) New York. It’s a town on Long Island that’s basically Levittown-light. We had all the charm of the 1950s’ cookie-cutter houses without the posh Levitt name.
My mother, brother, sister, and I lived with my grandmother on Arrow Lane, a block and half away from Parkway Pool where my sister and I took swim lessons and practiced with our swim team.
It was my mother and grandmother who instilled a love of reading in me. They always had a Stephen King or a James A. Michener novel going. Christmas and birthday presents were often Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, or Lloyd Alexander books.
I must have been around nine when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. My first story was a very bad one called “The Battle Between Earth and Mars” (or some such). Many of the characters and storylines were borrowed from Star Wars and Star Trek (certainly not recommended). Upon reading the tale, a friend of the family suggested I try making up my own stories and, oddly enough, it completely freed up my imagination. I haven’t stopped writing since (though, for a brief period of time I flirted with the idea of being a rock-and-roll god).
After university, I moved to Los Angeles and started writing screenplays. I wrote them, but nobody read them. I wrote more of them. And still, nobody read them. In the meantime I got my teaching certificate through the LAUSD Intern program and taught third, fourth, and fifth grade.
After years (approximately six) of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get some writing in before work, someone finally read one of my scripts and bought it. Since then I’ve worked with Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios, the Disney Channel, and Lionsgate.
Swim The Fly is my first novel and, as far as writing goes, it’s the project I am most proud of. I had an enormous amount of fun working on it (even though, had it not been for my wife’s persistence, it probably wouldn’t exist).
Though none of the things that happen in the book actually happened to me, I used a lot of my memories growing up (in Hicksville) and being on swim team for inspiration.
My writing process is fairly simple: tea, headphones, music, a thousand words a day, try to make myself laugh.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I spend far too much time teaching my dog silly tricks.
2. I collect game-worn hockey jerseys (yup, the smelly, sweaty jerseys that professional hockey players wear)
3. It took a great deal of practice (and much coaching from one of my best friends in junior high) but forever more I can make fart sounds with my hands.