I've lived in Seattle all my life -- since 1956. I live here now with my wife, Judy, and our two sons, Eli and Drew. I like the outdoors, books, fresh crab and raw oysters, and rain.
As a kid, I was crazy about sports. All sports. When I wasn't playing the real thing, I was playing some imaginary form of it. I wasn't a great athlete, just obsessed. I peaked when I was eleven. Our little league football team won the city championship, and the coach gave me the game ball. I lost that ball a few years later. I'm still looking for it.
I had fun reading and writing. When I found a book I liked, I threw myself into it, into the main character's skin. I'd try to write in the author's style. Writing was hard work, but what a rush it gave me, coming up with the right phrase, finishing a piece and feeling it click, reading it to the class and getting some laughs.
In high school, in the early 1970s, my hero was Arthur Ashe, the tennis pro. I concentrated on tennis and worked hard at it, but not hard enough. Today it's still my game of choice, and I still don't work hard enough.
High school is also where I became serious about writing. I became even more so in college, at the University of Washington. I made two trips to Europe, worked summers in Alaska as a deckhand on a fishing boat, and wrote short stories, novels, and even formula romances.
After college, I got a job teaching at an alternative school for junior high and high school dropouts. I taught for four years and loved it, but finally left because it ate up my writing time.
My breakthrough in writing came when I learned to look inside myself and write about the things I cared and felt deeply about. I guess it was only natural that my first published novel, My Underrated Year, should be about a high school football and tennis player. Yes, there's a lot of myself in that book, although hardly any of the incidents actually happened. That's true of my other books as well.
I enjoy visiting schools and talking to students about writing. I also love hearing from readers. You can write to me in care of my publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. I promise I'll write back!
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