Q: What one person – living or dead – would you most like to have over for dinner? Why?
A: There are so many interesting and compelling people, but the one that comes to mind is Nikola Tesla (Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist) because his mind was absolutely brilliant. I find him fascinating and innovative. There’s a story about him that I use when I teach. As a boy, Nikola climbed on top his barn with a contraption he had built. He jumped, thinking this thing would help him fly but, of course, he crashed. The great thing though was that he didn’t give up – he dusted himself off and just kept working.
At dinner I think I would want to try to get an insight into how his mind works. The cliche’ is that we should ‘think outside the box’ to create new and inventive things or concepts; but he came up with so much. Even today there are patents in his name that we, as mere humans, have yet to be able to build, or make work. I would love to know how he moved from the spark of an idea to the reality. How he created so many things other people can enjoy and utilize. As writers, we are going through the same process. We are taking a concept, an idea, and building a story, creating new worlds for our readers.
Q: What one book do you want the child or children in your life to read?
A: My wife and I have six kids between us, hers and mine. We’re the modern version of the Brady Brunch. What one book would I like them to read? I would probably change my mind a hundred times if you asked me on different days, but I’ll say The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. In my opinion, it is a timeless, wonderful adventure story. It’s a self-journey about not being afraid to leave your comforts – about evolving and changing instead of being stagnant. It’s also fun and magical and I think we all need a little magic in our lives.
I know at least two of our kids – our two oldest – have already read it.
Q: What book will you give as a holiday gift this year?
A: I’m giving my books of course (laughs) especially to our niece. She’s young and I’ll give her copies of all the books I have coming out right now. There are four coming out between now and October 15th – The Monster Squad (Junior Monster Scouts Book #1 – chapter book); Crash! Bang! Boo! (Junior Monster Scouts Book #2 – chapter book); The Secret of Shadow Lake (Creature Campers Book #1 – chapter book); and finally, Peanut Butter and Santa Claus (picture book).