The Young Tribesman (Author Interview)

The Young Tribesman looks like a great children’s book.  Any plans to turn it into a series?
There is a potential universe here to build up on that I would be excited to explore with the audience. I wouldn’t say the story ends here.

How did you come up with the story in The Young Tribesman?  
It was a spontaneous challenge actually. I was hanging out with a couple of friends, including the illustrator Madalina, and she asked me to make up a story on the spot. I asked what should the story be about, and she told me the object. To save people from spoilers, I will leave it as ambiguous as possible. I made up a story, and the first version was sort of lacking. I took a few moments to collect my thoughts, and worked the story backwards. I had the ending, created the beginning in my head, then boom, The Young Tribesman was born.

What will readers get out of your book?
This story was heavily inspired by the dichotomy of storytelling provided by stories like the Giving Tree. When a child reads The Young Tribesman, they will see hope. They will be able to look at the object that the story is about and see a source of protection and guidance. When an adult reads it, they will see what it takes to provide and care for someone you love dearly. For parents, it’s nothing more than a mirror reflecting their relationships with their children.

What inspired you when writing The Young Tribesman?   
The Giving Tree was huge inspiration. Also Where the Wild Things Are. Those two books shaped my view of engaging storytelling in a way that compels children and adults equally. The Giving Tree was especially inspirational because of its ability to speak to two audiences at the same time. Shel Silverstein was a genius of telling an entertainingly layered story or poem that sticks with you as you grow up and realize the power that was behind it all along. He was a sneak like that. Many of his stories and poems are powerful time released lessons that are realized in the readers life when they need it most.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve enjoyed story telling since I was a child. In middle school English class, after summer vacation, the class was assigned to write an essay describing how we spent our time. My family had taken a vacation on a cruise and I was excited to share the story. Instead of writing the essay like an essay, I wrote it like a narrative. The teacher gave me an F almost instantly. I was crushed and thought that maybe writing wasn’t for me. I was 12 years old at the time. I’ve had 20 years of doubting my writing abilities to overcome and choose to tell this story regardless of the negative self-speak. So I wanted to write since I was 12, but only actually put myself into it around 30 years old.

When writing The Young Tribesman did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  
Trusting myself to do so. My particular path was difficult because I didn’t come up as a writer. I didn’t go to school for English Literature. I’ve spent most of my life doubting my ability to put pen to paper in a way that captivate an audience. I had to get to a place of fighting through all of that noise because I believed the story was more powerful than my self doubts, and the children that the story would speak to were worth the risk. So the greatest challenge was getting overcoming my old self and believing in me.

What do you like to do when not writing?
I enjoy snowboarding, playing piano, helping people, and cultivating hope. I have another project called Museum of Hope that I love doing. It’s a museum that showcased people’s contributions of symbols of hope in their lives. Contributors submit these objects with write ups as to why these things mean so much to them, and I put them on display. It’s been a really powerful experience so far, and  my desire is to one day create a museum in New York City that people will travel from around the world to see what hope means to others from all walks of life.

Where can readers find out more about your work?
You can visit to see what I’m working on. The next story is Boy with the Heart which I’m excited to get out there.