Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, Charlotte's Web. The story taught me to never give up, to fight for what you believe in, and trust that the outcome of your circumstances will be what it's suppose to be.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books are Grandpa and the Rainbow Fish, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Charlotte's Web, Harlequin Romances. The reason why I chose Grandpa and the Rainbow Fish is because it deals with relationships, emotions, and overcoming bias. The story of Tom Sawyer appealed to me because it deals with poverty, telling the truth, and not succumbing to peer pressure. I enjoyed Huckleberry Finn because it touches on freedom, commitment, and love. Finally, Harlequin Romances were also a favorite because I'm a romantic at heart.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Middletown, New York. We grew up poor, so I read whatever I could get a hold of from the library and my friends. The more I read, the more I wanted to become a writer. I started writing poetry at the age of 10, then short stories. I also had an English teacher, Mr. Esseks, who encouraged me to write.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading sports magazines, comics, and children books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I worked with a company that serviced clients with Alzheimers Disease. I recall one of the clients, a 40-year old dentist, who struggled with the disease. This impacted me emotionally because, first, I thought that only old people contracted the disease and, second, I sadly witnessed how people with mental illness were placed in the facility and forgotten; thrown away and discarded like garbage. I wanted to address the issue through storytelling, hoping that my book would initiate dialogue between family members and the community at large.
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