When I was a kid, a local bookseller went out of business, and my father carried home a stack of books, including short stories and myths of the world — which quickly became some of my best childhood friends.
Later, studying the history and great tales of the world's religions, I fell in love with real history: not the dates-and-events schoolroom approach, but real people engaged in fascinating events. But many of those events didn't get into the history books.
What also didn't get into the history books were the great ideas and humor that characterized most people I studied. And a pleasant shock was that humans down through history are much less violent than we're led to believe through war movies (as Gandhi always said: humans have gone about their lives peacefully down through the ages).
All of this led me to write:
(1) a first-person historical novel set in the 11th Century: Tapestry,
(2) a summary of the teachings of a 1st-Century Roman slave-turned-philosopher, Epictetus: The Best Advice in History: Epictetus' Manual for Living,
(3) a study of the personality of Alexander Hamilton (due out in 2018): Alexander Hamilton's Charm, and
(4) the novel I'm working on now, set just after the death of Plato, involving characters who knew Plato, moved among native African cultures, studied in an Egyptian Inner Temple, met ancient Celts, and taught Alexander the Great: Plato's Children.
Like the 11th-Century novel, Tapestry, which took 25 years to write, this one will probably take another 25 years, but it's already a lot of fun.
Along the way I have collected the "official" status I'd need to sound, well, official — teaching literature and poetry at a private school, teaching the history of philosophy and religion at a university, teaching a publishing course at the same university, and working in the publishing industry with small presses.
But it's the love of history that's made writing so satisfying and so much fun. And I hope that my readers share that fun and fascination every time they read a book I've written.