1982 was the year I quit teaching and began to write full-time. In addition to screenplays and teleplays, it was not long before I was turning out books as well, mostly non-fiction volumes about history for schools and libraries.
Shortly before the teaching gig, I had briefly gone back to school and picked up a degree in history. Ever since childhood, I had been fascinated by that subject, especially ancient history, and most of all the ancient Greeks, with whom I have always strongly identified. (I wrote a ten-page prose version of Homer’s Iliad, illustrated with little drawings, at the age of seven. The quality wasn’t particularly remarkable, but my parents and other adult relatives were amazed by the initiative and effort.) Over the decades, in my spare time, I absorbed most of the works of the ancient Greek and Roman authors, along with a majority of the key books by leading modern archaeologists and historians. So when a number of “young adult” publishers began offering me book titles in the 1980s, I accepted all of the ones I could on the Greeks, Romans, and other ancient peoples. Of the 200+ history books I published in the years that followed, more than a hundred were about the ancient world. I accepted assignments to do many volumes about medieval and modern history as well, including numerous titles on another historical specialty of mine–America’s founding fathers and their chief accomplishments and writings. My books have generated hundreds of favorable reviews in leading literary journals, including School Library Journal and Booklist, and I have frequently been called the country’s leading writer of historical works for young adults.
While I was writing these books, my editors often asked me to do volumes on other subjects, including various aspects of science. This gave me the opportunity to expound on scientific topics that I had long enjoyed and kept up with over the years, among them astronomy (I was an amateur astronomer as a teenager), astrobiology, dinosaurs, and cloning. Offers also came for me to write literary companions, for which I produced studies of Hamlet,Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and other plays by Shakespeare, along with Sophocles’ Antigone, Euripides’ Medea, Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and others. In all, I have published more than 400 non-fiction books.
In 2009, I finally found time to devote to fiction and that year completed my first adult novel, Cloak of Destiny. Based on one of my screenplays, Millennium, it is best described as a “cosmic” mystery. I also wrote a middle-grade children’s mystery-adventure novel, Beneath the Black Pit, the first of a series of children’s books built around a brilliant thirteen-year-old girl who becomes a sleuth.
Regarding my family life, I live, quite happily, with my second wife, Christine, whom I married in 1982. My son, Dana, whom I had with my first wife, is married and lives in the same town that I do. A gifted artist, he has dabbled in graphic arts, commercial animation (for Comcast and other companies), and book illustration. (Most recently, he designed the cover for Cloak of Destiny (see above). My father passed away in 1990, but my mother is still alive and also lives in the same town that I do. Meanwhile, my brother Phil is married and lives in southern California.
Represented by: Marisa Corvisiero