Childhood influences: My parents took me to the library frequently. My dad read a lot, and his enjoyment of books was contagious. My mom and dad kept lots of books in the home to stimulate our interest in reading. I loved Robinson Crusoe and Robin Hood when I was a boy.
How I got started writing: A creative writing class in high school made me realize I enjoy writing. In college and graduate school I wrote a lot of little pieces to amuse my friends. Once I got settled in my career as a college professor, I started writing in earnest. Since then I've been quoted in The Chicago Tribune and Teen Magazine, published newspaper articles, magazine articles, wrote a blog for The Detroit News, published two books, and won two writing awards.
Work experience: My jobs have included working in a preschool, helping runaway teens, teaching a parenting class, and teaching psychology at Judson University. I love teaching and writing, which is what I do now. I am passionate about talking to elementary and middle school students to get them excited about history and about writing.
Family: I live in northern Illinois with my wife. Our two sons are grown and working.
In my spare time: I play basketball, garden, and read good books.