1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like adventurous travel: not adventurous like war-zone-adventurous, but encountering new architecture, cultures, and cuisines. When not traveling I like gardening, biking, boxing, and hiking with my family.
2. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part was trying to get the speech pattern of the Irish Travelers correct. I listened to a lot of YouTube videos to try to capture it.
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I like places that are so far off the typical tourist route that I would have to look at a map to answer this question. I love being immersed in nature, so places of natural beauty would be first on the list.
4. Where do you get information and ideas for your books?
The first step is inspiration, which I believe comes from bits of information stored in mysterious corners of my mind. Sometimes an incident that occurred a decade ago exposes itself as a thread to follow as part of a story. As I unwind the thread and start to flesh out a story, I usually am amazed at what my fingers type. I felt when I wrote ‘The Journal of Rabbi Levy Wang’ that my Dad and Grandfather were directing the story from the other side: a pair of Muses? In writing subsequent books, as in ‘The Travelers’ Tale’, I also felt the presence of a muse directing me, as well as hundreds of my life experiences that surface when I sit down to write.
5. Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?
Are you hearing the question, Muses? Muses…?
6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell us a story of a favorite childhood activity you used to do during the summer. It can be long or short. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. Tell us a story?
When I was six years-old and my family first moved to Japan we lived in a mountainous area called Ashiya Gawa. The Ashiya river and the fragrant, heavily wooded pine forests, where pink azaleas grew wild, were my playground. We had a big Airedale Terrier named Mike, and every day Mike and I would explore our domain. To my young eyes the woods were full of bandits and fallen-from-grace Ronin, out to do evil. I was the samurai hero, and Mike was my protégé. Every day, with a tree branch as my sword, we slew thousands of bad characters, as well the occasional dragon. This is my first memory of making up stories, of fantasizing new worlds. Is the ability to fantasize a muscle that needs exercise? If so, the woods of Ashiya Gawa was my gym. It was the beginning of my love for writing.