My first book was a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller called The Triple Homicide of Indian Ripple Road. Based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series, it was complete with my own hand-drawn illustrations and “self-published” in my fourth-grade English class.
Since then, I’ve done a variety of work (so far, none of it includes my own hand-drawn illustrations). Currently, I work on the communications team for the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve written Web content for Orbitz and have written, edited and managed print publications for the University of Dayton. I was a regular contributor to The Catholic Telegraph, published by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and one of the oldest newspapers in the United States.
Some of my formative years were spent in Europe’s smoky pubs and discotheques, though I also managed to be somewhat productive. During an internship with The Associated Press in Germany, I interviewed presidents and prime ministers, as well as the filmmaker Sönke Wortmann — who could tell I was a poor student and graciously bought me a cup of coffee. (Danke schön, Herr Wortmann. I owe you one.)
I earned a master’s degree in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway, which comprised the best two years that anyone could ever ask for in life. I studied Irish history, language, and literature; took set dancing classes as Gaeilge at the Club Áras na nGael; spent a few days in the Gaeltacht; worked in the James Hardiman Library; spent a fair amount of time wandering around Salthill in the wee hours; and passed more than my fair share of time in the city’s magnificent pubs. Even so, I also completed an internship with the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, and wrote a thesis on the role of education in the Northern Ireland peace process.