Growing up, I hated writing. I loved the idea of writing but hated the actual act of writing. I wanted to be a filmmaker instead. I’m definitely a product of countless hours spent watching Steven Spielberg and George Lucas films. I spent my adolescent years daydreaming about becoming a Hollywood director. After I graduated from film school, I moved to Hollywood and quickly discovered that it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I took part in the pride-swallowing grind that nearly every wannabe filmmaker goes through. I stomached a year of working seven-day weeks for almost no pay before deciding to move back to Cleveland with my beautiful wife. It was in Cleveland that I received my chance to direct a feature length film called Tomorrow For A Dollar, which I co-wrote.
All I can say about Tomorrow For A Dollar is that the film was a spectacular failure. It was spectacular in the sense that I received incredible wisdom from the experience, met and worked with some incredible people, and completed a near-impossible shooting schedule within a terribly-too-small budget. If there were ever an instance when someone could honestly say, “It was an incredible movie considering . . .” Tomorrow For A Dollar would be that instance. I can attribute a lot of who I am today to the making of that film. I probably wouldn’t be a writer if it weren’t for Tomorrow For A Dollar. It caused me to ask myself, “Why make movies?” And the answer is, “The story telling process.” I love it. It’s what motivates me. It’s the reason why I scrutinize every detail of every film, book, and television show I watch. It’s the reason why I read so many biographies and listen to so many interviews with writers. I then asked myself, “Do I have to be a filmmaker in order to enjoy the story telling process?” and I realized I didn’t. “I can be an author!”
I began (really began) my first novel, The Sinner King: Book of Fire, around this time. In writing, I have complete control over everything, which is exactly what I need. I spent six years working heavily on the book until it was finished — about four drafts later. And now it is here, on Amazon, and its sequels are on their way.
I was recently given a scrapbook from my mother for Christmas that contains all kinds of papers, drawings, and newspaper articles from my school days. On the very first page is a story I wrote sometime between the ages of eight and nine. Written on that story, by my teacher at the time, was a note that said, “Very creative and well written story. You should be an author when you grow up.” She was right. It just took me “growing up” to realize it.
Some of my favorite authors include:
Philip K. Dick, David Mitchell, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, Mark Z. Danielewski, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Matheson, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, George Saunders, William Gaddis, William Gass, Salman Rushdie, Dave Eggers, and Milan Kundera.