I was born on Maxwell Airforce Base in Montgomery, Alabama in 1971. But the first place I remember living was on Guam, where my father was stationed during the Vietnam War. Not that I can tell you much about the place, being that I was little more than a baby at the time. We left in 1977, after he was discharged. I can say that it was a happy time in my life and that I have always wanted to return one day, if for no other reason than to see what kind of memories will surface.
From there we move to Spanish Fort, Alabama. Both of my parents had grown up in the general area, so I guess that’s why they chose to settle there. My mother ran a pet grooming shop, while my father went back to college – eventually getting a Masters in Psychology. Years later he would achieve his PhD (thought I should mention that just in case he reads this).
Most of my time was spend playing in the woods after school with my best friend Jeff. At night, however, I discovered my love for books. Back then there was no internet, so the only outlets available were the Book Mobile, which stopped at the end of my street once a week, the school library, and the book section at the nearby drug store. And believe me when I tell you I read as much as they had to offer.
My love for fantasy stemmed from an old copy of The Lord of the Rings my uncle gave me. I must have been about 10 at the time, and much of the writing was over my head. But the imagery and heart of the story touched something inside me. From that point on I read every fantasy novel I could get my hands on. This naturally led me to a love of science fiction that rivaled even my passion for fantasy. And guess what? It has never left me.
My career as a writer began only a few years ago. But the history behind it goes all the way back to the third grade. I had written a poem for a class assignment. The teacher liked it so much that she put it up on the overhead projector for the whole class to see. I was so proud, you just can’t imagine. The next year I found out that she had continued using it as a teaching tool. This gave me a small taste of what it means to be a writer.
Though I had always enjoyed writing as a hobby, through my twenties and thirties I dedicated my efforts toward a career in music. In 2000, I moved to New York in a desperate attempt to do something meaningful. I had played all over the country with various bands, but had never really tried to start something completely original. I was getting older and I felt like it might be my last chance.
Sadly, as it turned out, my song writing abilities leave much to be desired. My lyrics were catchy, but the tunes were one dimensional and dull. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret it for a minute. I played some cool gigs at some legendary venues – CBGB’s, The Continental, Arlene’s Grocery, Meow Mix – and I met a great group of people along the way. But ultimately I gave up and returned to playing covers.
Later, as the industry changed and gigs paid less and less, I found myself selling cars in Staten Island. By then I had met my wife, Eleni, and we had a young son, Jonathan. Say what you want about selling cars, there is good money in it. I hated that I had to give up on music, but supporting my family was more important. During this time, I rekindled my love of writing. I had always enjoyed it and people who read my work said I had a flare for it. But it had never occurred to me to take it seriously. I mean, why would it? I was a musician, after all.
I had attempted novels in the past, but could never keep the momentum going. I would lose interest or get stuck and eventually give up. Short stories were never a problem and I cranked out dozens. But they were all quirky little pieces with no real point other than to entertain myself. This all changed when I decided to sit down and force myself to actually complete a full-length novel. I had an idea in my head that had been rattling around for quite a while. And this time I wouldn’t give up so I sat down at the computer and began pounding away. The problem was (and I didn’t get this at the time) I didn’t really have a story. I had a neat idea. But there were no characters, no plot, none of the things which make a book enjoyable. It was frustrating as hell, but I kept going anyway.
Then one day my son, who was seven at the time, came to me after school and told me he had an idea for a story that he wanted to tell me. Doing my best to be a good dad, I stopped writing and listened to what he had to say. When he was done I was flabbergasted. It was brilliant. Not complex or edgy. But it had every element one needs to write an entertaining story. He asked if I would write it for him and naturally I said yes. I immediately stopped everything and went to work.
What came out was The Godling Chronicles.
This launched an entirely new career for me; one I could have never imagined possible. Within a year, I was making enough money to write full-time, eventually moving my family down south and finishing the series.
Since then my books have sold more than 500,000 copies world-wide and my career continues to grow. Thanks to my son, I now understand what I should have been doing all along. And luckily it isn’t too late. Unlike being a rock star, there is no age when I look silly trying to “make it”.
For those who are fans of my work and have followed me throughout this incredible journey, know that I will continue to work hard to give you my best, and that I love each and every one of you. I look forward to more stories filled with action, adventure, romance, and a few twists and turns along the way.