I am probably one of the most non-traditional authors you will ever meet. But honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way. That being said, I'm just going to put it out there. I'm a down to earth, Southern-born, Northern raised, Army vet, Heavy Metal and Country music loving, pushing 50, Proud American. Proud husband of an Awesome, God-fearing woman, Andrea. Proud father of 3 great kids, Ashley, Wyatt and Alexa. Son to an Awesome mother, Judy, who never expected anything less than my best. Hard-working, blue-collar Christian who loves to create stories... but isn't a big reader.
Yeah, I said it. I love to write but not a big reader. Don't get me wrong, I have read multiple books from Fiction to Nonfiction to self help/motivational books. I know a good writer is also a great reader. My problem is everything you read in the first paragraph. I have a great life with my wife and kids, plus I work a lot, driving a trash truck (Imagine that, a trash truck driver who is an Author) and I do a lot of work around my own house. I was a carpenter most of my life so I do a lot of my own work on our property. So having time to write or read is limited because let's face it, when I finally sit down at the end of the day and open my laptop, that's when the true battle begins. You would swear I was bobbing for apples.
I was born in West Virginia and grew up in the little hick town of Roderfield. My Mother and Father, Lonnie and Judy, owned a clothing/ 8 track/ CB radio store in this town for over twelve years in the seventies and early eighties. I always had my choice of music to listen to because of the different genres of 8 tracks and LP's they had in their store. I honestly believe that this was the start of my writing career because music was and still is a big factor in my motivation to write. I can remember when I was around eight years old, sitting on the floor behind my mom's store counter with a notebook and trying to write a story about a Trans Am. "Corvette Summer" was the big movie out at that time and I was trying to make my own version of it.
My Father passed away when I was six and I do believe that this is when I started to use my emotions to express myself on paper. Being six, no one would ever take me seriously about writing, including myself. I had no idea what I was doing. I just remember being at my friends' Grandparents' house, sitting at their dinner table trying to write something but I didn't know how to express it. I can remember my friend, Theresa Rice and her Grandfather, Herman Long walking in. "Whatcha doing Skipper?" Herman would ask me. (Skip was my family name) "Oh... nothing." I would respond and then throw the paper away.
Original Book Cover
Mahlon & Judy
After a few years, I began to gain weight. I was now the fat kid of the school. But it was fine because I still had all my friends since first grade.
However, after the WV coal mines went on strike in 1980, our store and newly opened swimming pool business was struggling. So my mom and stepdad, Judy and Mahlon Chapman decided to close the doors in 1982 and we moved to Knoxville, TN.
Here's where I really started to get in touch with my writing "style", so to speak. We lived in three different areas around the Knoxville area in a span of two years. The first place was in Hickory Star, Union county TN, right outside of the county of Knoxville. I mention this place because the school I went to here was a good school. The kids there and the teachers were great. They accepted you for who you were. Then, for work reasons, we moved into the suburb area of Knoxville.
This was a little different for me. The neighborhood we lived in was great. A lot of kids to play with and a lot of bike trails. But the school was a little too "upper class". This is where I learned the difference between who real people were and who fake people were. Who had "heart" and who had "shallow" feelings... unless it came to money and possessions. And this was just what I saw in the children who were my age.
Coming from a family who once owned a clothing store and swimming pool business, one would think I would have been spoiled, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I always knew it could have been worse for us growing up. I never took our lifestyle for granted. And now here we were, not having that lifestyle anymore but still grateful for what we had. That's why it was sickening to see these kids act as they did. It helped me to realize even more, that they would not influence me and I would never be "That" person. And because of this, I was the "Fat Kid". It was no big deal to me. It just gave me the motivation to write.
After a couple of years in TN, we moved to Lebanon County, PA. Right outside of Fredericksburg. I went to Northern Lebanon High School (class of '89). I learned a lot here. Real friends, real people. There were still some of the "shallow" people as well, but all schools have some. I learned so much about life while I was here (as much as I could learn as a teenager) from hard school work to football to girlfriends and also if you mouth off to a farm boy, you will get hit... HARD! (Learned that one the hard way) But in all honesty, this is where and when I really got in touch with my writing style because I was always getting hurt by some girl. Some of my best writing back then was because of broken hearts.
Second Book Cover
This Book will be released this
year on Amazon
On September 11th, 1990, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. After a short stint in the Army Reserve, I decided to go active duty and was stationed in Ft. Stewart GA. Here's where I decided to start writing "Doctor's Orders". I had a great time here, even though as I returned home I was in the middle of a divorce. While going through this, I dove into my writing even more. But when you return back home to PA, during the middle of some of the biggest snow storms PA had not seen in some time, and you find yourself sitting in your parents basement, snowed in, while realizing that you are single, soon to be divorced, no money, and a POS car, you can either feel sorry for yourself and deal with the depression and hope that you don't slip off of the deep end... or you pick yourself up and choose to do something with your life. So I started writing pretty heavy, poetry mainly, and that's what helped me get through some pretty dark places. A lot of my poetry was misplaced, but I come across some of them from time-to-time. As I do, I'll post it.
This is how I dealt with depression. Writing has literally saved my life. Don't get me wrong, I still feel it from time-to-time, it's there and I honestly believe you never really get rid of it completely, but you learn how to control it. I've learned this the hard way. It has helped me, literally, to start some books and write some stuff that has even blown my mind. I had hit some dark places in the past. I dealt with some demons in the past and all the alcohol... all the blackouts... all of the party's... never took away the depression. Writing helped me to deal with it in a non-harming manner. Which has led me to a much better place in my life.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting my site and taking an interest in my writing. I hope to meet all of you one day either at a book signing or, and I'm speaking this into reality, at a movie premier of one of my books. I hope to entertain all of you for years to come.