Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I was born and raised in Houston County, GA. I have two older
siblings and am married to my beautiful wife, Shannon. We have a dog, Lilly,
who is the ‘best good girl’ in the world. We also have twelve nieces and
I went to school at Warner Robins High and graduated in 2005. I attended and graduated from Georgia Military College and Georgia College & State University.
I have written several other books and comedic scripts for the stage. My favorite authors are C. S. Lewis and Lois Lowry. I truly consider writing a cathartic hobby.
Outside of writing, I enjoy performing in community theatre, particularly comedies.
What inspired you to author this book?
It took me a few years to finish my debut novel, The Canvas Adventures. I wanted to write something that was both timely and timeless. Meaning, I wanted to write about bullying, as I feel we’ve seen a recent rise in social media harassment. However, bullying isn’t new. I also wanted to write a book that helped someone overcome that type of abuse. Writing a book like that takes time and, in my case, about three years!
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
I told my designer I wanted something that looked like the classic books I remembered reading when I was younger. I wanted a truly original piece. I didn’t want a stock image. The saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not true. If a book doesn’t have a captivating image, you’ve already lost their interest-no matter how great the contents are inside.
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
Personally-my maternal grandfather. He never met a stranger. He
loved life, and others loved him, too. I like to think I inherited his best
As a writer, I would say my second-grade teacher. My teacher had us write daily in ‘reading logs’ and encouraged us to write freely. I loved this part of the school day. I remember one day, she touched my shoulder, looked at what I wrote, and said, “You’ll be a writer one day.” That has always stuck with me!
What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
Any writer will tell you that writer's block is the first thing that always gets in the way of finishing a good story. The trick is to not force yourself to finish. You sometimes need to take a break. That may be an hour, a week, a month, or longer. Don’t’ rush the process just to finish. You want to provide the best product. You readers deserve your best!
Tell your readers about your book.
The Canvas Adventures takes the main character, 12-year-old Gabriel, on an unexpected journey. He is literally pushed into a magical oil canvas painting and transported into an unfamiliar world. It’s written in a way for children who may struggle to find their place or niche can relate to and learn from in a captivating way.
Who is your target audience, and why?
My target audience is YA readers who enjoy stories filled with relatable characters. I like my target audience to know that they are capable of anything! I like to write characters people know, characters people hate, ones they root for, and ones who have struggles, just like all of us.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
Understanding that despite the fact I may be different, I’m loved. I’m loved for who I am. I know that doesn’t sound like a success. However, many people go through life knowing others are loved. But if you ask them, “How about you? Are you loved?” That’s a different story. Some people will never understand that not only are they capable of being loved, but they are capable of loving others. My success in life is recognizing those things and helping others see it themselves.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
My novel is for everyone! I never sought out to write a book for children with autism. However, I have found that several of my readers are on the spectrum. It’s a blessing to hear, “My child loved your book. He couldn’t put it down.” I’ve also heard, “My child felt different until he realized that being different isn’t bad. Your book showed him that he’s loved and capable of loving.” I love those moments!