I'm from Renton, Washington, originally and except for two years in Rexburg Idaho and four months in Kingston, New York, lived there from 1960 (the year I was born) until 2008, when Mary and I moved to Spokane.
Here are a few more ridiculously compelling details about me, in case you're interested: I have five sons, one daughter, 8-10 grand kids (it changes periodically) and a miniature poodle named Copper; I am a born-again believer in Jesus Christ; I love cookies; I have read more than two thousands books - novels, texts, tomes, manuscripts, what have you - in the last three decades; I love cooking; I love eating; I love eating other people's cooking; I spent more than two decades driving truck but now work as a Certified Nurse's Aid - it's often messier than driving, but more satisfying at the end of the day.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Renton, Washington in the middle of the woods on the south side of town. I had two brothers and two sister, with me the middle child, and we were a solidly middle class family. That's a lot of middling, but life was good.
In my neighborhood and at school we had a fair mix of all races, yet I never saw a single example of racist behavior. I also never saw a single time when someone was persecuted for being gay, catholic, a stoner or a nerd. People were just people. Possibly the only persecution I ever saw was when some jerk of a jock found a dork alone in the halls, and then all bets were off. Dorks were not well liked in my school. Anyhow, the point is that I was raised in an environment mostly free from the annoying knuckleheads who feature prominently on social media today.
The only way I can think of that this influenced my writing is that, because of my family, my friends and my neighborhood, I didn't grow up hard or cynical. Naive? Maybe, but in light of all the other negative characteristics I could have adapted, that just doesn't seem so bad, at least not to me.
Imagine you are walking through a strange neighborhood when a storm begins to rage. You look for a safe place, but you don’t know who will take you in and who will chase you away. Where do you find shelter?
The Mighty Apple Tree is a short poem that makes a long point. God created you for a specific purpose. Your job is to discover that purpose and fulfill it to the best of your ability. Did God make you an apple tree? Then grow great apples!
There you are, comfortable as can be, minding your own business, reading a book, and daydreaming about a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich. Suddenly God shows up and tells you he wants to give you something. So what do you do?
He was a common, homeless, nameless drunk. They were indestructible star creatures who promised perfection. The cost? Every human life. The cure? As common as common can be. Common even to you.
The Planet Perfecters is a sci-fi-political commentary-adventure-comedy about the evil potential of governments and the uniting commonness of humanity that is anything BUT common.