I live in West Orange, New Jersey with my wife, Queen, daughters Karimba and Malawi, and son Kalani. I am the real life Clarence Barndale from High School Boot Camp, my first novel for teens. I'm really a shy person, but I force myself to be social when I have to. I'm funny, artistic, patient, and persistent when it comes to pursuing my dream. Can you believe I've been at this for thirty-five years now? Wow! I also daydream a lot, but that's how I come up with most of my ideas, and my wife thinks I'm a write-a-holic. Maybe because I fall asleep at my desk and bang my head on my keyboard. All in all, I love what I do. It's been a long, hair-raising journey, but if I had to do it over again, I'd choose to be a writer in a heartbeat.
Describe your desk
My desk is a large drafting table with a keyboard slide I attached to it. I had a couple of conventional desks before, but the office look didn't fit my personality. I needed a space that was more like a workshop that freed my creative energy. In the left corner of my desk is a replica of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker. It's a symbol of the long hours of brainwork I put in there every day.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The idea for it came during the time of a family "crisis." My fifteen year old son, Kalani, has special needs, and he had just graduated from middle school. My daughters, Karimba and Malawi, thought we were sending him to a private school that caters to children like him. When my wife and I told them he would be attending our local high school, they freaked out because they were afraid he would be teased by the other students. One day it dawned on me that this was a great idea for a book. So now we have High School Boot Camp which stars Karimba and Malawi who come up with a plan to prepare their kid brother for high school. Along the way, they take on six other teens headed to the dreaded Punchville High. Together they have a crazy summer experience that changes their lives forever.
When two jobless sisters start prepping their kid brother for high school they land six paying students and their money problems are solved. Now they have bigger issues on their hands as the teens unload a ton of personal baggage and boyfriend problems get thrown in the mix. It's a summer filled with disaster but they find a silver lining through friendships made and memories gained along the way.