As soon as the cover and premise of  THE THIEVING COLLECTORS OF FINE CHILDREN’S BOOKS caught my eye over Twitter, I had to feature it. This Middle Grade adventure would be a great addition to any library collection.


Oliver Nelson has a terrible secret–he’s a thief.

But he only steals books from the Garden Grove Library that are old, musty, brittle, or incomplete, like his favorite book, The Timekeeper’s Children. No one reads anymore, and surely no one will miss them, right? Wrong.

The Pribbles are famous inventors of the most popular toy in the world, alternate-reality goggles. They are also book collectors who are searching for The Timekeeper’s Children, so the Pribbles hatch a plan. They invite Oliver, the last person to have checked it out, to their mansion and use special software from their goggles to steal the last remaining copy of the book–from inside Oliver’s mind.

Now, Oliver is thrust into the middle of the story and must help the main characters steal pieces scattered around the fictional world of Dulum to build a magical clock that can turn back time before the evil sorcerer Sigil takes over. They’ll encounter hideous giants, bloodsucking bats, vicious eels, a Nasty Rodent Eater, a gang of wicked children, and a strange, dark figure that follows them from chapter to chapter, all the while with the Pribbles in pursuit.

Can Oliver save Dulum before Sigil destroys everything? And will he finish The Timekeeper’s Children before the Pribbles steal it from his mind?


In addition to being an author, you are also a creative director. What does this involve, and what do you love most about it?

I’ve been working professionally in design and creative direction for about fifteen years, doing online advertisements for a variety of businesses ranging from small B2C companies to large B2B companies. In that role, I handle and manage multiple parts of their marketing strategies—websites, brochure, interactive elements, video scripting/production, etc. The biggest benefit this has given me is a well-rounded knowledge of a variety of industries and people. As a marketer, you get to learn a lot about a ton of different industries, and you never know when something is going to spark interest or lead you down a path that inspires a new idea.

I’ll give you an example. Years ago, I was hired by Toyota to illustrate family summer road trip destinations for an interactive piece. One of the destinations was a large rock in upstate New York that looked like an elephant. At the same time, I was reading a biography of Harry Houdini that talked about him hiding an elephant in the Hippodrome. Those two ideas came together and formed the basis of a story about two kid magicians living in a town with a large rock elephant in the center for my debut, THE MAGICIANS OF ELEPHANT COUNTY. If I hadn’t had that job, that book wouldn’t have happened.

Also, when I was first starting out, I cut my teeth on doing animated banner ads for MySpace (is that showing my age?) and I learned how to create a compelling headline that would grab people’s attention and hopefully spark interest. If you are old enough to have been on MySpace, you definitely saw some of my work, and I’m sorry for that! But I think, in a large part, that influences the way I write my titles and chapter headings. Now, instead of clicking, I want you to keep reading!

Writing has always been my way to balance my creativity. You can really get stuck in a rut creatively if you don’t take time to do your own thing creatively.


I loved hearing about your experiences. Sounds like you’ve definitely avoided the creative rut. And I love the worldbuilding in THE THIEVING COLLECTORS OF FINE CHILDREN’S BOOKS. How did you figure out the magic rules in this story?

Thank you! I’m very much a free-flowing type of writer, so I don’t do much thinking about rules beforehand. I just make them up as I go. Typically, I will write a first draft with no outline or plan and make a lot of mistakes and inconsistencies. That’s OK, though. Many times the best ideas come from those mistakes.

After the first draft, I set a book aside for awhile and when I come back, the errors are very apparent to me. That’s when I focus and really try to make a detailed plot outline that establishes the rules of the world.

This was especially important in THE MAGICIANS OF ELEPHANT COUNTY, where the children in the story were able to do real magic. If the rules to that magic weren’t tightly defined from the start, there were several places in the book they could have finished the story with a wave of a wand … and I couldn’t have that!

In THE THIEVING COLLECTORS OF FINE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, there were two sets of rules I had to follow: the rules of the real world and the rules within the book, and sometimes those contradicted each other. In those cases, I think you have to go with what feels “right” and trust the reader to go along with you. It took a lot of planning to introduce and juggle the two sets of rules and not make it overwhelming to the reader, while also juggling the pacing of the two plots so they felt they were progressing at the same rate with similar stakes.

I will also say, my early readers and editors have been very helpful with establishing the rules and letting me know when something doesn’t work.


What an interesting approach! Especially with the free-flow first draft. What are some of your current projects?

I always have about ten projects in the pipeline, at various stages of completion, so I will mention the two that are the closest to being done.

The next book I’m working on is a ghost story. It takes another of my hobbies, photography, and covers the spirit photography craze in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

I’m also working on a locked room mystery book, inspired largely by THE WESTING GAME and Agatha Christie novels, but with my own twist on it.

I don’t know if either will ever be released, but here’s hoping!


Buy: ~ BookPassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound



Buy: ~ BookPassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *