“Writing is reading turned inside out.”

That’s what Marjorie Bruce used to say. She was my favorite English teacher, and as a writer I’ve always kept her words in mind. Whether I’m working on a novel, chapter book, picture book, or play, I try to create stories that I would enjoy—stories with humor, mystery, and characters I care about.

 
Life

Looking back on my career as a writer, I realize that I’ve actually had three careers. As a young man, I wrote juvenile and young adult novels that were light, entertaining, and fun. I wrote seven of them—comedies, mysteries, sports stories, science fiction—and enjoyed every one. I especially liked dreaming up unusual, eccentric characters, such as Splat, a wisecracking tuba player who loves Mahler and solves mysteries in a youth orchestra; and Sammy Carducci, an eleven-year-old kid who wears a suit, tie, and sneakers and thinks he’s an authority on women.

After writing books for a while, I found myself growing restless. I wanted to try something different, and I found it in the theater. For years I wrote plays, most of them for adults. In the process I learned that humor could be serious and that I had important things I wanted to say. I wrote about major league umpires and integrity; about a child actor, childlike parents, and home; about Shakers, artists, and trumpet players. I collaborated on a musical theater piece and two children’s operas, including How the Trumpet Got Its Toot, premiered in 2004 by the Utah Opera.

Most recently, I’ve rediscovered books and a love of history, resulting in Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial, my first novel in fifteen years. My second historical novel, On Beale Street, is about music, race, and Elvis Presley in 1954 Memphis. My third, The Year of the Bomb, is about horror movies, spies, and paranoia in a little California town in 1955. I like to think that in my new career as an author, I’ve combined the best elements of my previous two careers, writing about serious themes such as love, trust, and honesty in stories that are both compelling and enjoyable—stories that I would like to read. I’m hoping that my new career will be my best.

In addition to writing, I edit books and produce audio and video programs. I started out in educational publishing, joined Walt Disney Records as director of product development, and ended up in my current position, senior editor at the United Methodist Publishing House.

After spending most of my life in Los Angeles, I moved to Nashville in 1989, where I live happily with my wife Yvonne Martin Kidd and my daughter Maggie.