I began writing stories in the 5th grade, a short story, illustrated by a friend, about two men who sail a ship into hell to save someone. All I remember is that the story really upset a number of the parents on “Open House” night. It was “too dark”. Afterward, I was a little dejected, and my Dad took me outside to make me promise to never stop writing, no matter what people said. My elementary school teacher also encouraged me to no end. I’m sad that I can’t remember her name, but I’m forever in her debt.
In 7th grade and in a new town, I somehow convinced the journalism teacher at Jefferson Middle School, Mrs. Gilchrest, to let me write a weekly mystery piece for the school newspaper. My writing married all those Encyclopedia Brown stories I’d read as a child with the Ed McBain novels I was just getting into, and I had a hit on my hands! The other students loved trying to solve the crimes before the solution was revealed in the following week’s paper.
After that, I spent four years studying creative writing at West Torrance High School, where I learned so much from Mr. Morgan McSweeney about the art of storytelling. I still have my copy of Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” from my freshman year. I wrote mostly short stories for the high school literary magazine and immersed myself in studying the short form (Hemingway and Chekov in particular), but my work always ran a little long, and I wondered if I had it in me to write novels someday.
Then, in college, I decided to get “practical”. I gave up on writing to pursue a very short career in politics and a much longer career in business. One day, I realized that I was miserable and that nothing brought me anywhere near the amount of joy as writing. At age 35 I returned to school, this time to Pasadena City College, where I was beyond fortunate to fall under the teaching of Dr. Howard Hertz. He showed me how to be a better writer, and how to tell the truth (then later, just to twist my mind, taught a class on Marcel Proust). Once all the classes ended, I figured it was finally time to try my hand at novel-writing. Before I knew it, I’d written four books, all supernatural thrillers with crime elements, and I just finished my fifth.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Los Angeles, California. I graduated from the University of Southern California and I’m a happily married father of two great kids, two mischievous dogs and a pretty awesome goldfish.