I'm a native of Long Island, NY. Born in Deer Park, grew up in North Babylon, and spent my entire youth at the beach, fishing. I turned out, somehow, to become an author, an actor, and a theater director. I’m a core company member and the literary manager at American Players Theater, a classical repertory theater in Wisconsin. I’ve been fortunate enough to work as an actor in Japan, Germany, Australia, Ireland, and around the United States. I was a volunteer EMT in Spring Green, WI, for fifteen years, and worked as a first mate on an open fishing boat out of Captree Boat Basin, Long Island, for five seasons.
work in the field has been acknowledged with The Distinguished Play Award from The American Alliance of Theater and Education; The Intellectual Freedom Award by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts; the Shubert Fendrich Memorial Playwrighting Contest, and The American Alliance of Theater and Education honored my body of work with the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Award.
Back in the day -- Captain Marty on the left, me on the right with a fillet table full of flounder.
Along with my novels, A Winsome Murder, The Silenced and Blue, I've also worked extensively as a playwright for young audiences. I'm very honored that my
Fishing the Brule River
My adult plays for the stage that have been produced include: Christmas in Babylon, Learning to Stay, A Gift of the Magi (a musical adaptation, with Josh Schmidt composing); In Acting Shakespeare; The Desert Queen (the life of Gertrude Bell); Dickens In America; LakeView, and Waiting for Vern. I’m also very honored to be a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Fiction.
a boy and his first Bronco -- surfcasting
My higher education was as a first mate on the charter boats, which taught me some of the best and toughest lessons for life. At some point I had an itch to educate, and proceeded, with great rapidity, in failing miserably at it and dropping out of college --twice. Back to the boats I went. Filleted a lot more fish. Eventually enrolled at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, stumbled on a theater program, saw my first play, and I was hooked. I received an AS there, then went on to study theater at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I received a BFA. Somehow I found myself with a career as a theater artist and a writer.
I do remember always wanting to be a writer, though, even as a boy. In sixth grade I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote constantly while I was growing up; journals, monologues, plays; really, really bad poetry and short stories, but I was too shy to show anyone anything until I was thirty years old. A bit of a late starter. But I’ve been at it for a while now and it brings me much joy. Almost as much as fishing -- almost.
First boat I worked on
I can’t really say how that happened. I just kept doing things and one day found myself where I am.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was becoming a writer on the fishing boats. There were so many stories to be had there, so may interesting characters, so many days watching the sun rise over the ocean and working till it went down over the bay. It lent itself to wider thoughts. My first book, Blue, is actually about a boy who misses the ocean so much that he wants to turn into a fish and return to it. And he does. His transformation is about as miraculous as the career in which this kid from Long Island (me) found himself having. I am incredibly grateful to all who have helped me throughout my meanderings, because there have been many: the audiences, my readers, and the incredible teachers and artists I have had the privilege to work with along the way. You know who you are. Thank you.
where I grew up -- Great South Bay
Learned to fish Freshwater -- first Muskie
A boy and his A 10 pound fluke.