And Here's (Probably) More Than You Want (or Need) to Know:
My writing career began at age 13 when I wrote, directed, and filmed The Seaweed Strangler, an eight millimeter movie with my brother Steve starring in the title role. (Follow this link to watch the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE6nHYl-DEY) I grew up in the very small town of Andover, Ohio (pop. 1200) on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, and, despite what uninformed people might tell you about small town life, I can say with absolute certainty that I was never, ever bored. I swam, sailed, skated, played baseball, explored, and never once complained that our twelve inch black-and-white TV got exactly one channel (Channel 12 in Erie, PA, in case you're interested). Actually, I’m thankful for that last part; poor TV reception helped me to become the reader I am today.
After leaving Andover for college and work, writing took a back seat for a few years, but it never left my mind. Every time I read a great book, it is like someone blowing on an ember, until it finally catches fire. I had been through college and law school, but deep down, I always knew that I was going to write, one way or the other. But first, a career change! When we were living in Boston, I went back to school to become a teacher and then taught at a middle school for two years, but when my wife, Laura Grimmer, was asked open the Manhattan office of a PR agency, we jumped at the opportunity -- after all, from the day we met, it had been our dream to live and work in New York City.
Within a few weeks of arriving in New York, I landed a job teaching at St. Vincent Ferrer High School, an all-girls school on the Upper East Side. I decided it was also time to get serious about writing, and during breaks I wrote a (never to be published) novel, Beagle Dreams. I had never really considered writing for kids until Laura suggested it, but once she did, I ran with it. I got an amazing head start one day in my freshman English class. One of my students was staring out the window at the gothic-style church next door, and wondered aloud: “What if someone was staring back at us from one of those little windows up by the roof?” At that moment, I knew I had a story. My own students were the inspiration for Sophie, Margaret, Rebecca, and Leigh Ann -- the Red Blazer Girls, and I wrote the first draft of the novel over the summer break. It underwent a million or two changes, but ultimately became my first novel, The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour. Three more Red Blazers Girls books followed, along with three standalone novels (Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits; Summer at Forsaken Lake; Agents of the Glass: A New Recruit). I recently completed The Swallowtail Legacy, to be published in 2020 and followed by a sequel in 2021.