Oliver the Adventurous Engineer: Learn with Oliver how to build your very own personal computer! (STEM Team Oliver Book Series) (Author Interview)


What inspired you to write about a young boy's journey into the world of computer engineering?

I drew from my own experiences. I’ve always loved computers and tech since I was young.  The sheer potential they held, the ability to create something from nothing, seemed mesmerizing. I can still remember that first time I sat in front of a personal computer during elementry school. It was a Macintosh - hitting the keys and seeing the results of my input directly on a screen was a thrill.  My passion for technology was ignited during these years.

The second inspiration for me draws from the real-life stories of young minds shaping the tech landscape today. Their resilience and desire for innovation are a compelling narrative thread. This made me want  to  tell a story that not only mirrors my own techno-coming-of-age but also pays homage to the new young pioneers of our digital era.


How did you ensure the accuracy of the technical aspects of the book, especially concerning computer building?

I leveraged not only my own experience in tech but the power of online and up to date resources and how-to videos as integral components of my research for Olvier the Adventurous Engineer and the STEM Team Olvier series. Recognizing the dynamic nature of technology, these digital sources became indispensable guides, offering real-time insights into the latest advancements in computer engineering.  

The hope is that this book provides a good guide which inspires and resonatates with readers who have never navigated the complexities of personal computer builing.


Oliver's story takes place in a small American midwestern town. Why did you choose this setting, and how does it influence Oliver's journey?

Having recently transplanted myself from New England to the Midwest, it seemed a compelling backdrop to the narrative. I found it a place far from the well known tech hubs and a place where I would like  to see kids, especially in more rural areas of our country,  expand beyond the confines of their immediate surroundings.

In this digital age, where connectivity knows no bounds, the intersection of technology and growth can take center stage for many kids who will be the innovators of the future.  The ability to harness the power of technology as a catalyst for exploration and growth, with the focus on benefiting the world, became a poignant message I wanted to share and communicate.


Can you speak to the importance of STEM education and how Oliver's adventure might inspire young readers to delve into these subjects?

The significance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is a fundamental base of Oliver's journey and the narrative at large. Stemming from a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of knowledge, the book series attempts to illuminate the pathways paved by STEM disciplines.

By weaving the narrative around Oliver's journey into personal computer building, the story is meant to demystify the often-intimidating world of STEM for young readers. It is a call to discover the fun aspects of  science and technology and use them as benefits by encouraging knowledge and innovation for young readers.

Cultivating STEM literacy is not just a choice but a necessity. Oliver's experiences are crafted to resonate with young imaginations, to ignite a spark of curiosity which in turn may evolve into a profound interest in STEM subjects. The story aims to foster an appreciation for the creativity and problem-solving inherient in these disciplines.

Oliver's character and his conterparts in the STEM Team Oliver book series are deliberately portrayed as relatable, embodying the idea that anyone—regardless of background or circumstance—can find inspiration in STEM. It's a deliberate effort to break down perceived barriers and empower young readers to see themselves as protagonists in their own STEM narratives.


Were there any personal experiences or individuals in your life that influenced the creation of the character, Oliver?

Children and young teens that have an interest in technology are inspirations. I wanted to make Oliver as relatable as I could to the demographic. In some of the early character develpment, Oilver was proven to be relatable to young family members and children of friends. I also see a little bit of Oliver in myself. 

The heartbeat of Oliver's character finds tone in the spirit of children and young teens who harbor an innate curiosity for technology. Their boundless enthusiasm, coupled with an appetite for exploration, became a source of inspiration. In crafting Oliver, I sought to extract the essence of this demographic—capturing the wide-eyed wonder, the uninhibited curiosity, and the untapped potential that defines these formative years.

Oliver and the other characters in STEM Team Oliver  are intentionally crafted to be relatable. It's a conscious effort to bridge the gap between fiction and reality, allowing young readers to see reflections of themselves.

My aim is to create a series that resonates deeply with the readers, sparking their imagination and kindling the flame of possibility within each one of them related to tech.


Throughout the book, Oliver faces numerous challenges. Which was your favorite to write, and why?

Oliver's challenges each offered its unique set of complexity and triumph. However, if pressed to pick a favorite, it would undoubtedly be Oliver's initial challenge — the meticulous process of researching and assembling a comprehensive list of components for his personal computer build.

This particular challenge held a special place for me, in many ways, it mirrored my own passage in crafting this story. The act of researching and assembling the component list and installation steps mirrored the real-world tasks I undertook with the research for writing the book.


The theme of perseverance is prevalent throughout the book. Why did you feel it was essential to emphasize this trait in Oliver's character?

The thought of building a personal computer for many adults seems daunting in itself. Perseverance courses through the veins of Oliver's narrative. Had Oliver not possessed this trait he may not have seen the build through. Without perseverance, where would our character be? The decision to emphasize this trait in Oliver's character was born out of a profound acknowledgment of its real-world significance. Young Oliver serves as a reminder that the journey toward completion involves one step at a time.

Oliver's perseverance is a callout to the spirit of youth and the capacity for growth that lies within each young mind. By placing this trait at the forefront, the narrative becomes a vehicle for instilling a sense of determination in the readers, encouraging them to approach challenges with fortitude and view setbacks as stepping stones toward success.

How do you envision readers, especially those who are unfamiliar with computer engineering, engaging with Oliver's story?

In crafting Oliver the Adventurous Engineer and curating the broader STEM Team Oliver book series, the guiding principle was to demystify the complex world of STEM. The challenge lay not just in making STEM topics accessible but in developing a narrative that resonates with readers across diverse backgrounds, especially those unfamiliar with the tech and engineering.

The story is intentionally designed to be relatable, making technology not only comprehensible but also enjoyable. The idea is to keep tech understandable, approachable, and, most importantly, fun.

Oliver's story is made to invite readers of all backgrounds and levels of familiarity with technology to enjoy. The hope is that even those with no prior exposure to computer engineering, will find themselves drawn into the world of STEM with a sense of curiosity and excitement.

Perhaps even to build their own personal computer!


Beyond just building a computer, what are the broader life lessons you hope readers will take away from Oliver's adventure?

It is my sincere hope that readers, through Oliver's example, find inspiration to surmount their own technological challenge no matter their background.

Ultimately, Oliver's adventure is more than a tale—it's a conduit for inspiring the next generation of thinkers, inventors, and problem-solvers. It is my hope that through this narrative, young readers will be encouraged to not only embrace STEM education but to envision themselves as architects of a future shaped by their insatiable curiosity and passion for exploration.

Are there any plans to continue Oliver's journey in future books, perhaps exploring other areas of STEM?

Yes, Olvier the Adventurous Engineer is book one of a six-part series. The STEM Team Oliver series is a thrilling adventure - following a group of inquisitive young minds on their quest to unravel the mysteries of the scientific world. They tackle exciting challenges, encounter fascinating concepts, and solve problems using their knowledge of STEM principles.

Throughout the series, readers will be introduced to a diverse range of STEM topics, including computer science, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Each book seamlessly integrates engaging narratives with vivid illustrations, making complex concepts accessible and captivating for young readers.