Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Red Bank NJ. This is a town close enough to NYC to get there with ease by train yet far enough away to be able to retreat into nature. There is enough influence from the culture of the city to fuel creative endeavors and enough creative people to find kindred spirits and a community. I grew up around creative people. I enjoyed discovering talents with peers through collaboration, performance, and exhibition. We had fun, it was playful, yet dark because we were high and careless or reckless and inexperienced. Poetry jam's and open mic nights were popular and these two types of social gatherings gave me confidence and a platform to perform.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 11 or 12. It was probably suggested by a therapist. Writing has always been a tool to process emotions. Perhaps one day it will be more of a creative endeavor and less of a cathartic process. I doubt it though. Any creative work I do is usually personal and intended to help me understand and cope. I don't think life is going to stop giving me reasons to need to cope anytime soon.
Cigarette smoking is a difficult topic. In this book I share an intimate story of addiction. I detail my own smoking habit and how I was able to change that habit and finally quit smoking. I also share the story of those close to me who could not. This is a personal look at the disease caused by cigarette smoking and the effects that are rarely attended to.