When and where were you born? 

I was born on November 30, 1951 @ 11:16am in Portland, Oregon. (Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, was also born on November 30th…not the same year!).

Are you married? 

Yes, to a wonderful woman named, Marie.

What does your wife do for a living? 

Marie is an author. We’ve co-authored several picture books together so far. B is for Beaver: An Oregon Alphabet , E is for Evergreen: A Washington AlphabetN is for our Nation’s CapitalW is for Waves.  Our next book together will be an alphabet book about the Smithsonian institution.

Where do you live? 

We live just south of Portland on a 35 acre farm nestled in a beautiful little valley.

Do you have children? 

Yes, three stepchildren: Bethany, Shawn, and Niki. And four grandchildren: John Robert (JR) and Will (Bethany’s boys), and Jack and Ethan (Niki’s boys).

Where did you go to school? 

Portland State University.

What did you do for a living before you became an author? 

I was a zookeeper at The Oregon Zoo in Portland for 10 years. After this I worked at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington for 12 years where I held a number of different positions: Curator of Mammals and Birds, General Curator, Assistant Zoo Director, and Senior Research Biologist helping other conservational biologists reintroduce red wolves back into the wild. You can read more about this in my BIO.

What’s your favorite food? 

I love all food that starts with the letter: P

Are you working on a book now? 

I’m always working on a new book. My latest three books are ELEPHANT RUN and the sequel to “Cryptid Hunters” , TENTACLES and I.Q. Independence Hall. I’m currently under contract to write seven new novels. I’ll keep this FAQ updated, so check back once in awhile to see what’s coming out, or you can sign up for my newsletter which I only send out when a new book is published or if I have something else important to report.

How do you become an author? 

That’s a little complicated to go into here. Let me just say this… I think anyone can become a author, but it takes a lot of time and practice before a publisher is going to pay you to write a book. I was a reader before I became a writer and I’m still a reader. I read 2 or 3 books every week and I’ve done that for over 40 years. I write every single day no matter where I am…home, hotel rooms, schools, libraries, airports, jets… (The more you practice the luckier you get). You can follow me on FaceBookTwitter and my Journal.  This should give you of what it’s like to be this particular (or peculiar) author.

Snail-mail and Email:

As you might imagine I receive a lot of letters and email, for which I’m very grateful.  Sadly, because of my speaking and writing schedule I no longer have time to write people back.  If I responded to all of the letters and emails I wouldn’t have time to write my books.  I do read all of the letters and emails (and sometimes I do answer a few of them personally…but this is very rare).  So, please continue to email me.  If you do email me you are going to get an “auto-reply” explaining why I can’t email you back. I’m very sorry about this.  I wish I could email everyone back personally.

Letters (snail-mail) is a different story.  Because I’m away from home at least 6 months out of the year I have absolutely no time to write you a personal letter back, but like email I do read all of the letters.  It would be much better to email me.  Save a bit of a tree (and the cost of a stamp)…send an email.

Again, you can keep track of what I’m doing by following me on Twitter and FaceBook. I make a post to these sites almost every day.

Will there be a third book to ZACH’S LIE and JACK’S RUN?

I hope to write a third book, but it will be a long time before I get back to Jack. I have several other novels to finish first.    While you’re waiting I hope you get a chance to read my other adventure novels. You can read about them on this webpage.  I think you’ll like them.

Will there be a follow-up book after Tentacles?

Yes, see the longer answer in my journal posting.

Warning: Spoiler!  Did Peak make it to the top?

Here’s something you need to know: Not all summits are found on the top of mountains.

Here are some questions and answers and some other things to think about after you finish reading the book:

Who was in the best shape to reach the summit as they approached it?  Peak.

In the beginning of the book when Peak’s teacher gave him the journals and the assignment he said that Peak cold write “fiction” or “non-fiction.”  This means he was free to write the truth or make things up.

When Peak was tagging buildings did he tell anyone about it?  No.

If Peak made it to the summit would he write about it in a journal that other people were going to read and take the benefit away from his friend Sun-Jo?  No.

The end is a little tricky.  The only person who knows if Peak made it to the summit is Peak.

I,Q Book 2

I,Q Book Two: The White House will be out later this year, or early 2010.  As of this writing I’m still working on it.  But rest assured it will be out.

How do I find out when a new book is coming out?

The best way to keep up with my new books is to sign up for my newsletter on the bottom of this page. I email it whenever a new book comes out.

I need MORE information for the report I’m writing:

I’m flattered that you chose me for your report.  Everything you need to know about me can be found on my webpage. This is one of the reasons I have a webpage. Identity theft is a big problem these days, which limits the amount of personal information I can give out.

Will you visit my school?

I would love to.  I visit over 100 schools a year, but it is something your teacher, librarian, or principal would have to arrange.  They can learn how to do this on my school page.

How do you get a book published?

It took me about 20 years of practice to get my first book published. Getting a book published is complicated and all writers seem to follow a different path to publication. Your public library will have a whole section on “How To Get a Book Published.”  I suggest you read as many of these books as you can. In the end though, there are no shortcuts or tricks. You have to sit down every day and practice writing. Eventually you will become a good enough writer and your book will be published.

Why do you write your books?

I write about what’s important to me and what is most important to me in all of my novels are the characters. I care about what happens to them.

Which of your books is your favorite?

The truth is that I don’t have favorite. I don’t send a novel into a publisher unless I really like it. My books are like my three children…I love them all equally.

Writing Advice:

As far as writing goes about all I can tell you is to write everyday, which it sounds like you are already doing.

I write about things that are important to me and the most important things to me in my novels are the characters. I have to really care about what happens to them so my readers care about what happens to them. Writing a book is not hard, but it takes a long time to make the story good…sometime months, sometimes years. But the time is worth it.