Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a retired engineer, teacher, magician, and ex-deacon in the Catholic Church. I’ve
written two books. The first was more of an esoteric book for systems engineering that
detailed visual techniques for understanding complex systems. The book was named, A
Bridge to Simplicity through Diagrams. I never marketed this book outside the engineering
community but the book could certainly be useful for anyone who wants to simplify
the material for learning, teaching, or presenting.
My second book, The Deacon – An Unexpected Life, represents my life over the last five
years. I was happily married for 40 years and, studied to become a deacon for over 5 years,
and enjoyed serving as a deacon for 5 years. It was my dream to be a deacon in my
retirement. Life was good – wife, home, children, grandchildren, health, retirement, and an
amazing ministry. But then, unimaginable tragedy and horror came to my family.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is entitled, The Deacon – An Unexpected Life. It was inspired by a series of
unexpected and unfortunate events. First and foremost, my wife, suddenly and tragically,
took her own life. Grieving the loss of a spouse, or any loved one, is devastating but as I
quickly learned, grieving is much more complex when it involves losing your loved one to
suicide. Secondly, when a deacon loses his wife, he cannot pursue another loving
relationship that could lead to marriage. I had to commit to a life of celibacy and,
essentially, to a life alone. I actually made this commitment before I was ordained, but now,
the reality of the rule was like cutting my arm off. I simply could not make a decision and it
drove me crazy. – I knew about this rule! This battle went on for almost 2 years – I
couldn’t decide. It drove me crazy –in fact, it landed me in the hospital for open-heart
My faith was truly being tested, but I managed to hold onto it. But with that decision, came
something I never expected. Something worse than loneliness – Rejection – rejection from
the church, from some priests, even from some of my brother deacons.
Through all of this, my psychologist kept telling me to write things down, so I did! I wrote
about my grieving, about suicide, about the decision, about the rejection, about all of these
unexpected events. So what began as a cathartic exercise, thanks to the Holy Spirit, has
turned into my book!
I was amazed to see how many people were touched by my story and wrote letters to me.
People who related to grieving and isolation
People who lost loved ones from suicide
People who knew about surgery and recovery
People who have faced tough decisions
People who have experienced rejection
All proceeds of this book go to Suicide Awareness.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to let the reader feel a part of the story. I explain things as I go to allow the reader to,
some extent, think the way I am thinking.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho
The Shack—William P. Young
The Razor’s Edge—Somerset Maugham
Seeds of Contemplation and The Seven Story Mountain—Thomas Merton
What are you working on now?
Because of the letters, I’ve received from readers of The Deacon – An Unexpected Life, I am
starting to create notes related to the beginning where that book left off. The next book might be called, The Deacon – The Road Forward. The interaction between me and Richard, my guardian angel, will be focused on reaching out to those who are yearning to be heard and loved, showing them how they can obtain glimpses of hope, faith, peace, and love.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
We all want to be moved, heard, and loved. There is so much information at our fingertips
today but very few sincere stories that touch us and move us. My advice would be for them
to strive to move their readers in a loving and sincere direction.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
With me, my faith is paramount, so the best advice I ever received is to pray first, write
second. I find this provides me with an insight outside of me and combines my creativity
with God’s creativity. It was good advice for me when I heard it and it still rings true for me.
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading a small book by Henri Nouwen, entitled, Turn my Mourning into
Dancing. It was recommended to me by someone who read my book. It’s about finding
hope in hard times.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Unexpected events occur to all of us and our loved ones. You lose love, you lose friends, and
you lose pieces of yourself that you never imagined would be gone. And then, without your
realizing it, these pieces come back in one form or another. New love enters, different
friends come along, and a stronger, wiser you is staring back in the mirror. In my writing, I
want to inspire people to show more compassion in their life – compassion to those who
are grieving, those who are broken, and those who have lost hope. That’s what is next for
me – to write in such a way as to show the importance of a relationship with God and that
through that relationship, knowing that they will never be alone and will never face
unexpected and unfortunate events by themselves.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I’ve actually thought about this one a few times. Certainly. I would take the Bible. Since I
would be alone on that island, and have time for meditation and contemplation, assuming I
had time after catching enough fish to eat, I would take a few copies of Thomas Merton’s
books (The Seeds of Contemplation and The Seven Story Mountain). Finally, I would take
plenty of paper to write about my experiences and convey them in such a way as to let my
future readers share my experiences as if they are their experiences.