Here's where you can learn about the author of the Koolura series.
- Tell our readers about you as a person. I grew up on Long Island, New York in Freeport, a small town about thirty miles from New York City. After high school and college I migrated to California to get away from the cold. I taught public school for twenty-eight years until one morning I awoke to a profound silence. My hearing grew worse over the next few years until the hearing aides didn’t help much in the classroom. I re-evaluated my goals, learned the trade of the freelance writer, and started to write full time.
- Tell us why you write. Initially, I wrote science fiction. My first published novel was The Light: An Alien Abduction. However, a few years after its publication, the publisher went south. When my oldest daughter reached sixth grade, she hated to read. I asked, “If you had one book you’d like to read, what would it be like?”
She said, “Cool.”
So I wrote the Legend of Koolura.
Since my hearing loss, I’ve written a lot about Deaf issues. One such piece, “The Lip Reader” won first prize in Writer’s Digest’s 73rd Annual Writing Competition. I try to show people the strength and courage of hearing impaired and deaf people. Their story needs to be told.
- What do you like most about writing? I like the freedom it gives me. I can determine my own schedule, work when I want, and go to sleep when I want. As a teacher, I lived under a tight agenda planned by the school. Sometimes it felt like prison. As a freelance writer, I feel free.
- What do you like least about writing? Getting that first word on paper can prove daunting. Once that is achieved, the rest falls in place.
- What kind of personal goals have you set for yourself? My primary goal was to be the best father I could be. I know I have met that goal from feedback from my daughters. A few years ago, when my oldest daughter graduated from college she wrote, “You taught me persistence, dedication, and diligence. I learned from you to strive for my goals and to never give up. No matter how tough life was for you, you always approached every situation with great courage, hope and a big smile. Thank you for creating the person I am today.”
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Royal Fireworks Press published Goodbye Tchaikovsky last year. (It’s a book about a twelve-year-old boy, a violin virtuoso, who loses his hearing.) This fall, Solstice Publishing will be publishing the sequel to The Legend of Koolura, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. Currently, I’m working on Koolura and the Mayans. With in 5 years I’d like for my Koolura series to be popular with kids. Koolura is a wonderful role model, a young girl whose personality is a mix of my daughters Channie and Koren.
- What do you do to combat Writer’s Block? I keep a file of ideas. Many times I have thoughts or dreams. I write them down and file them away. If writer’s block strikes, I re-read an idea and work from there.
- What gives you the idea for a story? I get my ideas from dreams, reading the newspaper, magazines, or watching a movie. For example, a few years ago I watched “Fever Pitch,” which reminded me of my dating problems when I was in my twenties. From that I wrote “The Curse of the Brazilian.”
- What motivates you to write? Writing is my job. When I get up in the morning I go to my computer, check my pre-assigned schedule, and write.
- How do you handle the dreaded Rejection Letter? Now a days it’s more like a rejection e-mail. I’m happy when I get one; at least someone gave my work a look. The submissions that get ignored are what really bother me.
- Do you find that a critique helps to strengthen your work? For sure. When I first started writing I formed a writing group, Crits International. We submitted our work to our website, critiqued each other’s writing, and made revisions. Since then I decided a group meeting face-to-face would be better, so I organized the San Fernando Valley Critique Group. My writing has improved exponentially thanks to the feedback of my fellow critters.
- What words of encouragement would you have for someone just starting out? Write down those dreams, then, write them again. Never give up, and go through life with a smile. Even when you speak to someone on the phone, wear that smile. They can hear it in your voice. You’ll be happier with yourself, and with everyone else.