Hello everyone . . .
Before you send an e-mail, take a moment to read these frequently asked questions . . .
Q: When were you born?
A: November 24th, 1964
Q: Where were you born?
A: Pontiac, Michigan.
Q: Have you lived in Michigan all your life?
A: Yes. I grew up in Waterford, Michigan, until my family moved to Grayling after my 4th Grade year of school. In 1985, I lived for a short time in Houghton Lake before moving to Petoskey for six years, then to a little cabin in the woods outside of Cheboygan in 1993 before moving to Topinabee in 1998. It's about 25 miles directly south of the Mackinac Bridge.
Q: Are you married?
A: Yes. I have a wonderful wife, and she's very cute.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: No. We have three very cool, big furry dogs named Lily Munster, Scooby-Boo, and Spooky Dude.
Q: Does your wife help you write stories?
A: Yes, she does. Actually, because we travel so much together, we have the opportunity to think about different story ideas, characters, and plots. So, while I actually write the stories, my wife does help out with the ideas.
Q: How do you get your ideas?
A: By reading. No kidding. I get that question a lot. Now, that doesn't mean that I read someone else's book and take their story. Sometimes while I'm reading a book, I'll get an idea for a story that had nothing to do with the book I'm reading. I'm not sure why or how this happens, but it does, and I know many authors who agree. If you're looking for story ideas . . .read.
Q: How did you come up with the 'Chillers' series?
A: I wanted to write something that would be fun, something that would be different. I wanted to write a book that I would enjoy reading, as I read just about everything from childrens books to adult fiction. Plus, I thought it would be fun for kids to read about places that they might know about.
Q: You started with the 'Michigan' Chillers . . . why did you start writing 'American' Chillers?
A: I began to get a lot of letters from kids around the country who had visited Michigan and picked up the 'Michigan Chillers'. They would ask me to write a book about cities in their state. While that might get a bit overwhelming, I thought that I could write a series about each state, and hopefully readers around the country would enjoy the 'American Chillers' as much as Michigan readers have enjoyed the 'Michigan Chillers'.
Q: Are you still going to write 'Michigan' Chillers?
Q: Why did you write 'Ghost in the Graveyard', 'Ghost in the Grand', and 'The Haunted Schoolhouse'? (featuring the Adventure Club)
A: I love books like that. Books about growing up, and all of the cool things that I wanted to do and dreamed about. 'Ghost in the Graveyard' came about, mostly, by thinking about what it was like for me growing up. While I actually never did belong to an 'Adventure Club', I was a lot like some of the characters in the book. The books quickly became favorites among 'Chiller' fans!
Q: What is your favorite book that you wrote?
A: Hmmmmm. That's a tough one, and it's a question I hear a lot. Probably 'Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit' or 'Ghost in the Graveyard'. But I like all of the stories for different reasons. Each one is special to me.
Q: I've heard that you write your books at night. Is that true?
A: For the most part, yes. I get up very early . . . sometimes as early as two in morning . . . to begin writing. It's a very quiet time, and it allows me to write without the phone ringing or the dogs barking. I will, however, write at any time and in any place. I wrote the outline for American Chillers #5 : 'Terrible Tractors of Texas' while waiting to get my car washed.
Q: Do you have any favorite authors?
A: Yes, quite a few. Ray Garton, Tananarive Due, Stephen King, Jack London, Neil Peart, Jean Craighead George, H.G. Wells, Norton Juster, Shel Silverstein, Ayn Rand, Jules Verne, Joe Hill, Dean Koontz, Richard Dawkins, Roald Dahl, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Beverly Cleary, among many others.
Q: What is your favorite book by another author?
A: Another tough one, and I don't think I have just one particular favorite. However, 'My Side of the Mountain' by Jean Craighead George is one that I really love, along with 'James and the Giant Peach' by Roald Dahl. Another is 'Where the Wild Things Are', by Maurice Sendak.
Q: Why do you write scary books?
A: I think we all like to be frightened for the thrill of it, but also, at the same time, we want to know that we're safe. Books allow you to do that.
Q: Are you going to make movies about your books?
A: Nope. I mean . . . it's always a possiblity. But at this moment, I don't have any plans. Besides: the best movies are in your mind.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Many. I love to be outdoors. I love to freedive. I fish, bike, run, cross-country ski, and write. (Yes, I consider writing a sport.) Growing up, I was a fanatical fly fisherman, and I have taken it up once again. I tie my own flies, and I've been doing a lot of that. Also, I love to build willow furniture, but I haven't had the time this past year or so.
Q: If I send you a title for a book, will you use it?
A: No. Although I love to hear the ideas that readers send in, I'm not allowed to use submitted ideas.
Q: Are you going to write an 'American Chillers' for every state?
A: Yes. There will be 50 American Chillers.
Q: How long does it take to write one book?
A: Usually a week to write the first draft, and another month or so re-writing. That's my favorite part. I love going back over my story to make it the best I can.
Q: How long have you been writing books?
A: I started writing when I was seven years old. A lot of people think that you have to be a certain age to be a writer, but I disagree. If you've ever put your pencil to paper and written a story, congratulations. You're an author.
Q: Do you draw the covers?
A: No. There are currently seven artists who work individually to create various covers.
Q: If someone asks you for a free book, will you give it to them?
A: Gosh, I'd love to . . . but they don't even give me free books, and I'm the one who writes them!
Q: I have a great title for a book. If I send it to you, will you use it?
A: No. I wish I could, but I can't. ALL of the titles for the books in the American Chillers series have been chosen. My recommendation? Write the story yourself! If you think you've come up with a great title, you can write a great story!.
Q: If all of the titles have been chosen, will you tell me what they are?
A: Sorry! That's top secret. However, fan club members will be the first to know.
Q: I sent you an e-mail and I didn't get a reply. What's up with that?
A: Every e-mail I receive will get a reply. However, some people have their settings on their mail programs set to help eliminate junk mail. Often, I send a letter to someone who has e-mailed me, only to have my note returned with a script that says 'USER IS NOT ACCEPTING E-MAIL FROM THIS SENDER'. So, if you have written and haven't received a reply in over a week, have your mom or dad check your mail settings. Additionally, everyone who sends me an e-mail will get an automated reply right away, to let you know your note has been received.
Q: If someone wants to contact you, how do they do it?