Q&A: What authors influenced you as a child?

Thinking back, there are three who come easily to mind.

Vicki Grove. She is a local author near my hometown. We read some of her books in class. She would also visit our elementary school and talk about life as an author.

Gary Paulsen. Hatchet, of course, is a classic. I also remember reading The River, Canyons, and Dogsong among others. He knew how to capture a boy’s sense of adventure.

Finally, Louis Sachar. His Wayside books have always stuck with me in their quirky humor. In fact, I’ve loved being able to read them with some of the foster kids we’ve had, and even sing along: “I’ve got one sock, looking for the other. One sock, looking for it’s brother…”

The thing that really struck me about Sachar was the interaction he would take with his fans. In the fifth grade, I believe, we had to write a letter to one of our favorite authors and I chose him. He wrote back, a very nice handwritten letter. Sometime later, I sent him another letter and talked about wanting to be an author. Again, he sent back a letter that was quite encouraging.

Those are the three that came quickly to mind.

If you have a question about writing, my books, or me as an author, I’d love to hear it. Please include it in a comment!

Meet Callum Martindale (a character sketch – The Secret Baker)

Ten-year-old Callum is good at mazes and video games and, well, not much else. His dad was a star high school baseball player, and his mom and sister are pretty good at basketball. Ask Callum about sports and he’ll tell you, “I’m as athletic as a sloth.” People expect him to be good at more, but since it’s not sports, he’s not sure what that’s supposed to be.

Until one day, he has to stay home from school sick. He ends up watching a baking show with his mom, decides to try baking, and discovers that he is actually pretty good at it.

Callum gets the idea to secretly leave surprise treats around his school with the help of his best friend, Ryan, even calling himself Captian Cookie! The Secret Baker! But when the school bully finds out, will his secret remain a secret?

The Secret Baker is a story for kids ages 8-12ish about learning to be yourself and embrace what you’re good at, no matter what other people think. Read Chapter 1 for free by clicking here (PDF).

You can find the book on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.

Until Summer

A story of love and hope against the darkness of trauma.

Read the first three chapters for free by clicking here (PDF file).

You can purchase the book on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback.

They were in love but that seemed a long time ago, a different life. Abused and neglected, Meredith and her brothers spent much of their childhood in foster care. Now she’s a single mom of a teenage boy and foster mom to another, trying to juggle work, children, and dating. Abandoned by his mother, Daniel was raised by an uncle who struggled to show him love. Now he’s an addict warring against himself as he fights not to fail a son of his own. When Daniel’s son is placed as a foster child in Meredith’s home, the two are reunited but what will that mean for them and their families? Until Summer is a story of love and a longing for hope as two people battle the traumas of their pasts in search for a brighter future.

Please note: Though not graphic or explicit, this book deals with trauma and has scenes of abuse, assault, and suicide, which could trigger traumatic memories in some readers.

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Meet Meredith Hillis (a character sketch – Until Summer)

She was in love.

Life for Meredith Hillis finally seemed to be going the way she had long hoped. She had a good job and a stable relationship. She was mom to one teenage boy and foster mom to another. She was happy with all she had.

But when she receives a phone call asking if she has room for another boy, everything will change. Suddenly, the boy’s father, a man she once loved, is thrust back into her life, along with the memories of her broken past.

Meredith is a survivor. As a child, she and her brothers faced abuse that no child ever should. It almost cost her everything. But after her son was born, she found the help and strength she needed to face the trauma of her past and set course to her brighter future.

Until Summer is the story of how Meredith learns to love and holds on to hope even when the past once more rears its head. You can find it on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.

“Until Summer” Available Now!

My latest novel is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RSLGHDN/

It is a story of love, hope, and finding light against the darkness of trauma. Foster care is a central theme to the book. I wrote it, in part, because foster care is important to me and there isn’t a wide selection of novels on that topic. There’s kids’ fiction and non-fiction, but it’s harder to find general fiction. The book is a love story. It’s also an ode to foster care. It’s also a book about trauma, which means some of the subject matters in it are hard. I don’t go into explicit details about things, but there are certain events that could be a trigger for traumatic memories, so purchase accordingly.

I would love for you to check it out.

If you read it and like it, I’d love for you to leave a rating or review at Amazon and tell someone else to check it out. 🙂

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

They were in love but that seemed a long time ago, a different life. Abused and neglected, Meredith and her brothers spent much of their childhood in foster care. Now she’s a single mom of a teenage boy and foster mom to another, trying to juggle work, children, and dating. Abandoned by his mother, Daniel was raised by an uncle who struggled to show him love. Now he’s an addict warring against himself as he fights not to fail a son of his own. When Daniel’s son is placed as a foster child in Meredith’s home, the two are reunited but what will that mean for them and their families? Until Summer is a story of love and a longing for hope as two people battle the traumas of their pasts in search for a brighter future.