-Where did your love for books/writing come from?
My first memory is getting a Teddy Ruxpin for my third birthday. I don’t know if Teddy Ruxpin is still a thing, but he was this stuffed robot bear that came with little books about his adventures. He also had cassette tapes you could put in his back and he would then read the stories about himself to you. His mouth even moved. In fact, I made Teddy read to me so often that eventually his mouth fell off and he was left with a terrifying gaping maw and I was left with a fear of robot. But even so, I still credit him with instilling in me that early love of words and stories.
-What is a writing quirk of yours?
I can’t write out or order. When I was editing the last draft of Chicken, I actually had to retype the entire thing in a new file in order to make the necessary changes and insert new scenes.
-What do you do when you’re not writing? Second job maybe?
I’m the office manager for my dad’s business. For a long time, it was just something I did because there wasn’t really anything else for me to do in my small town, and I got to spend a lot of time on the job reading, but then my dad passed away last month, and suddenly I am basically in charge of a business, which is not something I was ever prepared for. It’s the kind of stuff they write literary novels about. Or maybe the stuff I’ll write a literary novel about one day.
-Is there an idea that has been stuck in your head that you haven’t written yet?
Ninety-five percent of the ideas I’ve ever had had are still stuck in my head!
-Are you married? Kids? or Planning on it?
My wife and I got married in a library last year. If by kids, you mean pets, then yes we have them and yes we plan on having more of them in the future.
-eBook or physical book? Why?
I read both. I prefer reading fiction in print, but if there’s a great deal on a Kindle book, I’ll suck it up. I really like reading non-fiction on my Kindle because it’s easy to highlight things and find them again.
-What book/s are you reading now?
I’m reading a book called How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King. One of the recurring themes of my work is that humans are animals too, so I’m finding it very insightful about my own experience with loss. I’m also reading one of my all-time favorite books General Red by O.A. Washburn, which I’ll talk more about in my next answer.
-What is your most prized possession?
Right now, it’s General Red. My dad gave me this obscure biography of a bear hunting dog when I a kid. He said his best friend gave it to him when they were kids and that it was the only book he ever read all the way through without a teacher making him. Well, I fell in love with it immediately, and read it over and over again, even in college. When I moved to New York, I left it behind for safekeeping, but then my dad packed up my room to make a den and all my books wound up in a barn. I couldn’t find General Red for years, but finally a couple years ago, I did. I started reading it right away. Then one day my dad was getting ready for a reunion, chatting with old friends on Facebook, and he asked me whatever happened to that book he gave me. I told him I had it with me, and so he told the friend who had given it to him, and well, it turns out she had only meant to loan it to him. Fifty years prior. She wanted it back. He said of course I would return it. I was so furious with him. But it turned out the book was actually written by one of her relatives, so I knew I had to send it back. I was pretty heartbroken about it. Years went by, but I never stopped missing it. Then a few weeks ago, I came home one night after several days sitting in the ICU waiting room after my maternal grandmother had a heart attack, and I was feeling about the worst I’d felt since right after dad died. Well, I checked the mailbox and there was a brown envelope inside. General Red had come home.
I wasn’t sure what to say here, but then I realized I was writing this on July 28, which means it is Chicken’s first birthday! So I guess I really just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported it so far and to say how much it means to me every time someone takes a chance and buys this obscure author’s weird little indie YA novel. Now what’s a subtle way to drop a hint that what Chicken really wants for its birthday is lots of good reviews???