I spent my childhood moving from house to house in a small Arkansas town with my father and sister. There were no family pictures on the walls, only a few small framed school photos on flat surfaces. Every possible space was covered with bookshelves.
My dad had collected since he was young and continued until the day he passed away in November of 2020. He always joked that his Doubleday Book Club membership number was 1. He carried a book with him everywhere. In a town where it was not unnormal to see people carrying bibles, he had the latest fiction releases fresh from the presses and delivered to our door.
My sister and I were readers, not surprisingly. There were no limits on what we read. The terms middle grade fiction and young adult fiction weren’t really a thing then. So, it was Stephen King well before I was old enough for it. I did occasionally find more age appropriate titles. I checked Bridge to Terabithia out from the school library. It wrecked me. It still wrecks me.
I always loved writing. I was the rare student who enjoyed the writing assignments in school, as long as they were fiction, of course. In college I wanted to take Freshman Composition over and over, but they wouldn’t let me. The teacher was a wanna-be-novelist who would read from his own works in progress in class.
I spent a short time in Northern California and renewed my love of John Steinbeck there, picking up copies of Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, The Pearl, and everything else I could find at the Cupertino Public Library. I would drive somewhere Steinbeck himself had been and read. Yeah. Nerdy. I wrote some short stories during that time, including one I entered in a competition through the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. I did not win.
Years later, stories started coming through my head. I finally started writing stuff down. My first novel took me years because I couldn’t accept that I was writing a book. At some point, though, after thirty thousand words or so, you come to grips with it. That book became my first release, The South Coast, the first in the Eddie Holland detective series.
Since then, I’ve released seven novels including one middle grade fiction so my son could read something I’d written. Ruby Rising is my eight novel and I recently completed what will be my ninth, another middle grade fiction.
I miss my dad everyday. He wasn’t perfect. But who is? I read because of him and I write because of him. What more can you ask?