I was born in and grew up in Tampa, Florida and was attracted to words at an early age. I wrote my first book "The Boy Who Liked To Read" (about me) with construction paper and pencil in grade school on my own. The teacher then decided to keep the masterpiece and show other students in class what they could do if they applied themselves (I wasn't popular that day). Later in life, aside from multiple trips to the public and school libraries, I discovered comic books and was determined to work for Stan Lee once I was old enough. As a student in school I was drawn to reading, writing and art and by high-school had completed several comic books of my own creation. It was my Creative Writing teacher in my senior year that pulled me aside and told me "You should delve into short story writing, give the comic books a rest." What she was really telling me was "stop drawing in my class!"
Writing short stories next came natural, it was like telling a story but using words instead of pictures. Within a few years I'd have several short stories done and pursued publishing, but not with the vigor most writers had, I wrote for fun and liked to share photocopied stories with friends and family. It wasn't until much later that I got serious about writing.
The next step, of course was to try and write a novel, which proved a very fun task. My idea of a novel was the embodiment of a comic book in prose form. Writing a story is like sitting in front of a stage and watching the performers direct me. I have a basic idea of the story-line, but the characters take over and I'm just their tool. Yeah, a serious pantser.