As you may have guessed, I am a writer who loves great stories, great ideas, and helping young writers refine those ideas and get them on the page.
I've spent most of my life studying the literary classics, exploring the history of mythology and grand narrative, and trying to figure out why we love stories and tell them the way that we do. I've even been known to tell a few tales of my own through the handful of books, plays, screenplays, and articles I've written over the years. Of course, there's also the joy of a great conversation. Just make sure there’s coffee and a nice fire pit to fuel the taletelling. Nothing’s worse than having to sit through a boring story on an empty mug.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I was a Youth Education Series facilitator, trainer, and content writer for the Walt Disney Company and helped equip the next generation of pastors, storytellers, and artists as a writing and communications professor at Life Pacific University. When I’m not discussing the poetics of narrative, I love watching hockey and going for hikes with my beautiful wife Stephanie and baby girl Emilia in the hills above our home in Southern California. A Long Beach native, born and raised, I currently write for Salem Web Network on the topic of theology, the church, and the biblical narrative, which you can find in the articles page on my website.
To quote Eric Liddell, "I know God made me for a purpose... but he also made me fast; and when I run I feel His pleasure." In my case, if you substitute the written word for running, you'll have a pretty good idea of what motivates me in life.
Make no mistake. What I offer is no master class. I am as much a gardener pruning his own work as I am a student of life and the craft of writing. Here, I offer a thoughtful analysis and honest perspective on what makes a good story great, why God is good, and why life worth living.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and support. I hope my perspectives and poetics offer insight, truth, and new joy into your life and creative goals. Now get back to writing! Those stories won't write themselves.
Until Today, Storytellers
QUESTIONS I GET ASKED A LOT
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
One? There's never just one is there? While I have many personal favorites (The Lord of the Rings, Into the Wild, James and the Giant Peach, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Tuck Everlasting) it's hard to deny the power of the Bible. Beautiful poetry, amazing character study, epic history, wisdom, and generations of brilliant set up and payoff that only God could write. It's all there. However, more than just a great book, spiritual guide, moral code, or inspiration for some of the best stories, values, and ideas in history, the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. It's not a story about what we have done or who we are; it's about what He God done and who He is.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK OF THE BIBLE?
I love the history of the Old Testament, particularly the David Narrative (1&2 Samuel) and Israel's Return from Exile (Ezra/Nehemiah), though I have developed a new love for the Minor Prophets and Paul's letter to Titus.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR?
I adore the wit of Oscar Wilde and am a huge Tolkien fan. Other than them, I really admire the writing of Jon Krakauer, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, Jules Verne, Eric Metaxas, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
It's a tie between 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and Jaws.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?
Anywhere we I can get free refills on coffee or tea. I do have the tendency to write long in my early drafts, and I've been known to turn the diverse terrain of California into my own personal office on occasion.
DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE TO MUSIC?
Classical or movie scores? Absolutely. I can only listen to music with lyrics if I'm trying to get into the headspace or voice of one of my characters before I write. I often create playlists with the type of music they might listen to if I'm writing from their point of view but then unplug before I start writing. I'm too distracted otherwise.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?
I received my B.A. in Screenwriting from Azusa Pacific University, and just because I was crazy enough about writing, I decided to go double-or-nothing by studying English Literature. I completed my M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the always merry and magical Vermont College of Fine Arts several years later.
IS YOUR WIFE A WRITER?
Stephanie is a wonderful actress and an amazing storyteller. But while I write for kids and love telling stories to our baby girl, she actually gets to work with them as a NICU nurse.
WHAT'S SOMEWHERE YOU'D LIKE TO VISIT?
Ireland. Hoping to get there someday. I also love camping so Yosemite is high up there as well. And I would happily go back to Alaska or Spain
WHAT'S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
Coffee and biscuits with LOTS of apple butter.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RIDE AT DISNEYLAND?
I grew up in Southern California and cherished Disneyland as much as any kid with a vivid imagination could, so much so that I ended up working there for six years after graduating college. As far as rides go, I love Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. However, I do also have to stop by and visit Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln on almost every visit.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FILM IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
KIRK OR PICARD?
No shade to Kirk, but I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jean-Luc is captain now and always.
YOU SEEM TO BE A PRETTY BIG STAR WARS FAN. IF YOU COULD WRITE ANYTHING IN THE STAR WARS GALAXY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Like many young storytellers, I fell in love with Star Wars from the moment I first saw The Empire Strikes Back. Though there have been some misses throughout the Star Wars saga,The Mandalorian has recently rekindled some of that love. As far as stories go, I would love to take a crack at a Rogue Squadron miniseries, Podracing comic book, or novel set in the sky circuses of Cloud City.