BLOG TOUR – I Know When You’re Going to Die
Guest Post by the Author
Since I’m not a well-known writer, I thought I’d introduce myself. I grew up in Northern California, in the Bay Area, and relocated to Los Angeles for graduate school. I was born with a sensorineural hearing loss, which made learning language tricky because I often misinterpreted the spoken word. I suspect my disability pushed me into reading because I could see the words and didn’t have to struggle trying to decipher them. I was also poor at discerning song lyrics, so unlike most kids and teens, I didn’t gravitate toward rock bands, but instead fell in love with instrumental film scores. I have an extensive collection and can discourse at length about John Williams or James Horner the same way others might opine about rock, pop, or hip hop performers.
As a child growing up, I was the only kid at any of my schools with hearing loss. Since there were no hearing aids at the time that could help me, the disability was invisible and many people thought I was developmentally delayed because of my often non-sequitur responses to questions or statements. Sometimes my gaffes were funny, while other times I was viciously mocked by my peers and wanted to disappear into the floor. Team sports were a nightmare and I humiliated myself on more occasions than I care to remember. Again, my hearing and these negative social experiences pushed me more and more into reading and into my imagination. I wrote stories in grammar school and continued to write throughout my life. I think writing is just something innate to my being, even though I didn’t publish anything until 2011.
I’ve spent most of my adult life teaching high school and volunteering with youth, especially incarcerated youth. My experiences with teens and young people led me to focus on that demographic in my writing. Too many books these days border on nihilism, like most of American entertainment, and I believe all this negativity is helping drive the rising depression and suicide rates among young people. My books run the gamut in terms of subgenre, but all celebrate the capacity of human beings to rise above whatever life throws at them and to ultimately find happiness in becoming the unique individuals they were always meant to be. I’ve worked with so many youth over the years whose lives have been beyond horrific, lives you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. But these kids still possessed the one human quality that can transcend everything – hope. Those youth inspired my most frequently used motto: Life is Hope, and Hope endures.