I was born in Oakland, California and raised in Livermore, California. When I was six or seven one of my older cousins was hooked on The Lord of the Rings. He told me the whole story in installments, a little more at each visit, and quizzed me on who the characters were. That’s how I got hooked on genre fiction.
I started writing little stories around the time I was eleven or twelve. I think I was thirteen when I wrote my first real short story: a science fiction noir. The more things change…
I don’t remember a time I wasn’t scribbling something here or there, for school or my own amusement, but never with any desire to publish or to be an author. Truth is, the much nastier and more fatal acting bug had already bitten me. But that seemed a silly profession to aspire to.
My mom has always been an educator and my dad spent a lot of years teaching in between his time as a Teamster and opening his own business. I assumed I’d follow them into the family trade. So I guess is made sense to declare as a creative writing major while I worked toward a teaching credential.
A semester of this found me on academic probation and enrolling in nothing but drama classes I knew I could ace.
Several years later…
Find me in New York with a graduate degree in acting, a theatrical agent, good prospects, and a bartending job.
Find me with a graduate degree in acting and a bartending job. And a need to fill the time that was no longer being used putting my MFA to work.
So I scribbled. And my feet hurt. And these two factors collided. Several months later I had written a novel. Really, it happened like that.
There is an interlude after that, a couple years while the novel sat in a drawer, but the story of my brief “career” as a writer is very light on blood, sweat and tears.
That first novel, Caught Stealing, was optioned by and independent movie producer before it was ever published. Less than two weeks after meeting the man who would become my literary agent, he had a first offer to publish. Since then, it’s been more of the same. Sorry.
I haven’t had to bartend or wait tables since winter 2004, and it’s been a little longer than that for my wife. The wolf is never far from the door, but we’re supporting ourselves doing stuff we like to do. One night when I bitched about going to another writer’s release party to schmooze, she said to me, “Charlie, if that’s work, sign me up.” I shut my fucking mouth and went to the party. Had a good time.
I don’t get to act anymore, but my wife does. And I get to write the kind of stories my cousin started turning me on to when I was a brat. Life is good.
Sign me up.
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