Q: First tell us something about yourself?
My life has been an extraordinary adventure. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and friends who have loved and supported me through the various stages of my life. My faith and my family have been my foundation, and I am grateful for them. I have been a published author and public speaker for over fifteen years, writing books for adults and children. Through several of my organizations, I have worked with schools, community groups, churches, corporations and other organizations promoting character education, literacy, leadership development and education. People are my passion and helping them fulfill their god-given purpose is my mission.
Q: How and when did your journey start as a writer?
When I was in the eleventh grade, my high school English teacher, Mr. Valenti, was the first person outside my family to encourage me to pursue writing as a career. It would be another twelve years before I began to work on the project that would become my first published book. By that point in my life, I had accumulated a broad array of experiences that shaped my worldview and my perspective on life, love, faith, family and community.
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
The first story I wrote was when I was small. I was very shy at the time and writing was a great outlet for me to express my thoughts and feelings. I did not publish the story, but I gained a love for writing that has been with me my entire life.
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
I am a purpose driven person and everything I write is purpose driven. The purpose of my writing is always to share ideas, thoughts and concepts that will encourage my readers to pursue the god-given greatness that lies inside them, to see the best in others and to seek the best for others. All of my books present common themes that include the importance of developing good character, integrity and the development of trustworthiness. Most of my books are written for adults. But these themes are most impactful when shared with children during the most vital stages of their development. Some people would call this an old-fashioned way of thinking. I would assert that some old-fashioned themes are foundational to developing great children who can become great adults. Those themes and values never go out of style. I hope that my books can help people successfully navigate their own journeys in life, starting with our children.
Q: Why do you choose kids as your reader ? is there any specific reason?
I was a single dad for many years. One of my favorite things to do with my son when he was a little guy was to read with him. I tried to find books that he would be interested in and that he would find challenging. I also found books that had good wholesome messages. I believe that reading is one of the greatest tools a parent can provide their children. I was always an animated reader with my son. I always made up some of the silliest faces and voices when we read together. Although many of the books I have written are for adults, I never forgot the joy those moments gave me. Writing books for kids gives me the opportunity to share that experience with other moms and dads. I get to write books that parents feel comfortable reading to their children. They get to make funny faces and create silly voices as they read. My son still talks about those experiences. I believe books like The Great Christmas Heist will give you that opportunity too.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
The Great Christmas Heist is a passion project of mine. I wrote the story around ten years ago and it feels more relevant now then when I first wrote it. I wanted to write something that reminded me of the children’s books and movies that I read as a child. Books written by Dr. Suess, Roald Dahl, J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, L. Frank Baum and many others took me on adventures that transported me to new worlds that stretched my imagination and expanded the promise of possibilities of the world I lived in. There were always great messages interwoven in these books that kids could carry with them in their own exploration of life and the world around them. Thomas and Clair, the two main characters in The Great Christmas Heist, as well as the poetic style of writing and the artwork honors those stories in a nostalgic sort of way, while presenting a message that is current to the society many of our families live in today. Our children are growing up in a world that is far more cynical, anxious and self-absorbed. Thomas and Clair reflect that world early in the story but take a journey on Christmas eve that helps them see the beauty around them. This is a fun-filled, humorous story that will feel timeless for the whole family.
Q: Do you want to leave any message for your readers?
Reading is one of the greatest investments you will ever make in life. So read often and read a lot.