I was born in Illinois, but raised in Colorado. I didn’t always want to be a writer. For more on that, read “My Nose” below.
I certainly wouldn’t write how I do without having been a listener and an outsider in a lot of different places. I’ve lived in California, Australia, England, as well as having had two home-stays in Japan—one with a CEO’s family, and one with a cabdriver’s.
I have a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Chapman University (’01), and an M.A. in Creative Writing (Prose) at the University of East Anglia (’02) in Norwich, England, where I studied under the supervision of Andrew Motion, then Poet Laureate.
My first novel, Roo Kickkick & the Big Bad Blimp, was published in the UK in 2004. Kung Fu High School was published in both the US and UK in 2005; it was a Barnes & Noble Discover Selection, and its film rights were sold to The Weinstein Company. A film adaptation was ultimately never made.
I’m a member of UGLARworks, an L.A. street art crew. Read about how I came to join them here. Street art is an inapt term, but it seems it’s here to stay, so I suppose it’s safe to say that we’re that and a whole lot more. We paint murals as a Pre-Approved Mural Artist for the City of Los Angeles. Most recently: we have embarked on a mural project in Lynwood. We’ve also put on a show at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, taken over the PanMacmillan lobby in London, & done a one-night-only art show in London for All Involved, as well as creating a thematically linked mural in Paris for the book.
It was a long road from my early books to writing All Involved, & I discuss it in my TED talk here.
Since writing it, I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel the world in support of the book, appearing at the International Literature Festival Dublin (Ireland), Edinburgh International Book Festival (2015 & 2017), Hay Festival Querétaro (México), Hay Festival Arequipa (Perú), & others. I’ve even given talks at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in L.A. County, & Greenock Prison in Scotland.
I am a founding board member of 1888: a non-profit cultural center in Orange, California, dedicated to the preservation, presentation, and promotion of cultural heritage and literary arts, which has recently opened its doors!
I taught core courses in Creative Writing for 9.5 years at Chapman University in Orange, California, as an adjunct professor, and while there I pioneered a professional course in Writing for Video Games, which saw its students move on to full-time jobs at TellTale Games, Jumpstart Games (for Dreamworks’ IP), & Activision/Blizzard. I’ve frequently guest lectured on my pet topic, “The Five Essentials of Storytelling (Regardless of Medium)” at Vancouver’s Centre for Digital Media using all-purpose elements I designed for all my courses.
I currently live in Los Angeles, the greatest & most misunderstood city on earth, with my wife & two mischievous cats.
Latest update: January 2020