I’m a storyteller, first and foremost, and I write A LOT. If you’ve made it this far and survived my giant picture, you probably already know this. In any case, I’m passionate about great writing and I’m constantly inspired to tell great stories through my books, plays, screenplays, writing classes, and sometimes just a great conversation. Just make sure there’s food and coffee or a nice fire pit to fuel the tale-telling. Nothing’s worse than having to endure a boring story on an empty stomach or empty mug.
Growing up, I fell in love with books and movies because they took me where I wanted to go and showed me who I wanted to be. They provided perspective and often hope to manage this crazy world. But best of all, they guided me to a life-changing encounter with my Creator, who inspires me still.
Someone told me when I was young that I was good at writing. As it turns outs, that was enough of a push to set me on the path I’m currently on. What I’ve discovered since then, though, is that writing is lot like being an athlete. You have to practice and put in the work by writing every day. But I do it because I love it. I do it because I feel I have something to say. And I do it because I have people I care enough about to say it to.
I know there are a lot of kids out there who, just like me, need an exciting, well-written story to tell them that they’re okay and things are going to be all right. I write for them as well as my fellow writers who sometimes just need a creative roadmap and a little perspective to guide them through the forest.
With my wife Stephanie constantly supporting and sometimes pushing me along the way, I continue to write from our home in Southern California. So keep writing and keep reading storytellers.
The best is still to come.
QUESTIONS I GET ASKED A LOT
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN?
Oooh. Hard to say. While I have many personal favorites (The Lord of the Rings, Into the Wild, When I Was the Greatest, I Am the Messenger, Tuck Everlasting) I can't deny the power and impact of the Bible. Beautiful poetry, epic storytelling, profound theming, and generations of brilliant set up and payoff. It's great writing in tandem with spiritual, transformational truth
WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR?
I adore the wit of Oscar Wilde and am obviously a huge Tolkien fan. Other than that, I love the writing of Jason Reynolds, Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, David Wiesner, Kwame Alexander, and Erwin McManus.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
It can never be just one. 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, are some of my favorites right now, but I'm constantly discovering new gems.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?
Anywhere we I can get free refills on coffee or tea.
DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE TO MUSIC?
Classical or movie soundtracks, 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.
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 adding a second B.A. in English Literature. I completed my M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults at 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, she actually gets to save them as a NICU nurse. She is my hero. I couldn't do what I do without her.
SOMEWHERE YOU'D LIKE TO VISIT?
Ireland. I've never been and it's part of our family heritage. I also love camping so Yosemite is high up there, as well as Spain, Boston, or Alaska.
WHAT'S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
Lucille's biscuits with LOTS of apple butter.
GAME OF THRONES OR LORD OF THE RINGS?
A cruel question. Both are epic and explore the relationship between good and evil in profound ways. While LOTR is a clear battle between light and darkness, it is often an external fight. GOT often deals with the evil within. Good men, even our favorite heroes, make bad choices. That, to me, is a far more interesting and truthful. That being said, the theme of hope is far more prevalent in Tolkien's epic, and I don't think we'd even have Westeros without Middle Earth, so... sorry, House Stark, I'm gonna go with the Hobbits. And by the way, the Cliffnotes version of an ending didn't help Game of Thrones much on this one.
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 Captain Kirk (or Shatner), but I grew up on The Next Generation. Jean-Luc is my captain now and always. "Make it so!"
IF YOU COULD WRITE ANYTHING IN THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE?
I would love to take a crack at a podracing series or write about the sky circuses of Cloud City on Bespin.