Q & A
What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
An Archaeologist and explorer.
What inspired you to be an author?
The study of history has always been my primary interest from the day I was old enough to read. College helped me refine my hobby into a discipline and the natural outlet for expressing research is in writing it. In the case of “Champions,” a thorough investigation of this season needed to be done and I felt as though I was the one to do it.
How long have you been writing/illustrating books?
Detroit City of Champions was published in late 2008 and since that was my first book, I suppose late 2008!
Do you have any notable awards or accomplishments?
I haven’t had any awards, but I’ve never been one to need a “gold star sticker” on my homework assignment to vindicate my efforts. Hard work and being able to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day, knowing that I gave something my all is more important to me than any award.
What makes your books unique or distinctive?
One of the reasons that I started my own publishing company was so that I could present my material without having to worry about outside interferences or having to cater to the bias of whichever patron might be financing it. My books are different because I don’t care about challenging the established order. In fact, the established order should be worried because many of the well known concepts that are out there are my goals to overturn. Also, I present a lot of original sources such as newspapers and other first hand accounts in order to transport the reader back to the time and see what it was like for themselves. Very few of the photos or information I use are from other books because I am the type who has to verify every fact for myself.
What do you most love about the creative process?
I love when I am so absorbed in a project that I don’t even notice the sun rise.
What do you least love about the business side of creating & promoting your books?
I hate numbers and the accounting side of it. I find myself wanting money only so that I don’t have to worry about it interfering with my work.
What do you enjoy doing besides making writing/illustrating books?
I am a history purist, I love hearing and reading stories even if it is just talking to a toothless old man who is pushing a broom in a dilapidated liquor store. My version of heaven is having access to every primary source document that has ever been written. I consider the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria (circa 50 B.C.) to be one of the great tragedies of all time.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Ancient Western history is my favorite subject with the Illiad by Homer my all-time favorite; along with other ancient historians like Polybius, Appian and Cassius Dio. I could read any of their books a million times and not get bored. My other favorite subject is Colonial American history (pre-revolutionary war) of which Francis Parkman and Allan Eckert tower above all others. As far as Detroit Sports, Richard Bak is my favorite, especially his chronicle of Joe Louis which is simply extraordinary.
What are some of your favorite reads? (these can be books, blogs, magazines etc…) –please provide links if available
The Illiad by Homer is amazing for so many reasons that by listing only one would do injustice to all of the others.
What do you like to listen to? (specific bands, musicians, songs, radio stations, podcasts) –please provide links if available
I’m not really into the music “scene” but I like a bit of every type, especially if it incorporates a violin.
Quotes you love or live by:
Audentes fortuna juvat
-Fortune favors the bold
Amicum numquam hostemve quem plane non reddam
-May I never have a friend or an enemy I do not repay in full
Memorable places you’ve traveled to & why you loved the area:
I studied at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and absolutely adored the city, so much so that I found a job and lived there for 2 years after I graduated. I still love it today, because of the beauty, culture, festivals (to say nothing of the American Football team I played with) and how cosmopolitan it is. The person who’s sick of Edinburgh is the one who’s also sick of life
Your favorite places to frequent around Detroit (restaurants, shops, galleries, parks, downtowns etc…)
I’m still new to this part of the State as I’ve lived primarily in Kalamazoo, so I’m still getting to know the “spots” in Detroit. I’ve been so busy that I really have not explored all that much, does the Library count? I’ve certainly spent enough time there! The Old Miami and Jumbo’s with Jumbo’s being my favorite.
Recipes you love to make or are famous for:
I can make pretty much anything but I live sort of a “Spartan lifestyle” meaning I’m not one to make anything extravagant. When I was living in Scotland, even my friends out there noted that I could cook black pudding pretty well, so I suppose that is my specialty.
Any other trivia you’d like to share about yourself:
I worked on Mackinac Island for 7 years as a dock porter to pay my way through college.