But I really fell into writing to make stuff up. When I was little I'd write about dinosaurs with flatulence problems and sharks attacking alien ships. As I grew older, and expanded my library beyond adventure books and on to young-people-sitting-and-thinking books, my stories became a little less exciting. That carried over into my first novel, The Wages of Genius, which is all about a single day in the life of an office worker. It's kind of funny, though, since he thinks he's the reincarnation of Albert Einstein. I won't give away the ending.
A few years later, prompted by requests from my nieces and nephews, I decided to try writing a more adventurous novel. The result, Fish (Scholastic Press), is filled with pirates, puzzles, and grand journeys. Fish was a Scholastic Book Fair bestseller, and it has received numerous awards and nominations, including the Carol Otis Hurst prize for the best children's writing in New England.
I'd like to write more Fish novels, but another story grabbed me next instead, and I spent a few years working on Dangerous Waters, a novel involving Titanic passenger Harry Widener, a conflicted twelve-year-old stowaway named Patrick Waters, and an immensely valuable and mysterious book. The novel was a Scholastic Book Clubs bestseller, came out in paperback recently, and has been earning some of those state award nominations as well.
A few of the many science and technology pieces I've written over the years worked their way into my 2009 book, The Truth About Santa: Wormholes, Robots, and What Really Happens on Christmas Eve (Bloomsbury). On the surface it's about how Santa completes such seemingly impossible tasks. But the real heart of the book is the power of science and technology. The School Library Journal called it "delightfully whimsical" and the USA Today picked it as one of its top five holiday books for geeks.
More books are in the works - soda bottles and ninjas and pirates, oh my! - and I'm always busy writing about strange people building strange contraptions.
Is this really a bio? Or should I have written more about my awkwardly large head, my experience with braces, my failed hopes to be an Olympic breastroker? Then there was the brief attempt at becoming a banker, the year in Ireland as a sodden, gray-faced paralegal, and the two-year romance with the Pacific Ocean. Love, marriage, kids, suburbia, more books and magazine articles, cartwheels, coffee, a return to the pool, more kids, a shift from steak to salad, slowly graying hair. Kids! Yes, that's it. That's where we are now. Somehow all that mixes up into me.