When I was in second grade, the words ‘slow reader’ stuck out on my report card like a tattooed neon sign. I already knew I wasn’t great at reading, but the way that term categorized me reduced my reading motivation to zero.
So I stopped reading.
Because I was a highly cognitive and creative child, I was able to test well in school without having to read the assigned books. I based all my answers on what teachers and students were discussing in class. Mind you, this is not something I promote positively nor is it the way I’m raising my four children. It is, however, the curse I bore until graduating high school. By the time I was eighteen, I had only read four books.
That all changed the summer after graduation, however, when my next door neighbor, Jordan, insisted that I read his latest favorite novel, The Paradise War by historical fantasy and fiction author Stephen Lawhead. I tried to remind him of my stigma, but he refused to take no for an answer and left me holding the book.
Reluctantly, I opened the cover and began to read.
From page one, the story captivated me so deeply that within the month I had completed the trilogy. I had never done such a thing! Lawhead’s work had opened my eyes to a world I had been missing: the dramatic frontier of the human imagination. To my astonishment, I remember concluding that if—one day—I ever wrote a book, I wanted to write one like Lawhead that inspired non-readers to read.
More than twenty years later, I have over one million published words and wonderful relationships with fans the world over. To be given access to someone’s mind and heart through the written word is an honor, one I don’t take lightly.
Currently, I’m working on a few new novels and spend a great deal of time in academic reading and writing as I look to complete my Master’s degree. Just about every ounce of free time I have is spent with my wife and four children around our home in northern New York State.
Thanks for reading a little about me, and I hope you find my work entertaining and thought-provoking.
Bonus: What were those four books I painstakingly finished in school? Glad you asked.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
1984 by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Sallinger
The stories read to me as a child still stand out the most, however. They include:
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains
. . . so be sure to read to your kids in case they don’t like to read to themselves. It will come back to them later in life.