It’s hard to say when I decided to be a writer. Stories were always in my blood. If I had to nail it down, though, it was in the third grade. The year I discovered the wonderful (and mostly forgotten) Choose Your Own Adventure series. I salivated over every edition, hunting them down methodically in every bookstore and library in northern New Jersey. I read almost every edition front to back, exploring every possible story arch the writer threw at me. I knew who the best authors were in the series and I even knew the illustrators by name. During those glorious and innocent days I read nonstop. If I wasn’t reading I was creating maps and games, or donning capes while slashing the air with my wooden sword.

In a nutshell, I was hooked on stories. No chance of rehab. No quick-fix pill. Fantasy in particular was in my blood and it was as strong an addiction as heroin or sex. J.R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Edward Packard, Richard Adams; they were just a few of my Dr. Feelgoods.

But soon I found a new mistress: cinema. Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Scorcesce, Kubrick, Scott, Lynch; these guys instantly blew my hair back. Before I knew it I was in my early twenties venturing into the city four days a week, a strap hanger, a college boy. A film student. Four years and a thesis film later, I was spit back out into society with no job offers and $30,000 in debts. As I awaited my muse, I paid the bills as a videographer and editor, slogging it out as a hired gun for various studios in and around New Jersey. But it was never enough and soon the muse tickled my fancy once again.

For years I dabbled, I typed, I crumpled and tossed. I wrote a horror novel that was swill, I wrote several screenplays that would make the pope weep. But more importantly I read and I read and I read some more. And before long I knew I had found what I was looking for: a direct line to the story. No boundaries, no budgets. Just my fingers, a keyboard and many lonely nights in the dark. It was my world and I could do anything and go anywhere in it.

And now that brings me here. An unknown writer with guns loaded searching for an audience. The Culver stems from the best and worst points in my life. While writing it I had two wonderful boys, married the love of my life, had a breakdown, took up photography and finally discovered who I really was. But that’s a story for another time. Another novel, perhaps.


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