I heard yesterday from Mark Mitchell, the moderator for the panel discussion at this Saturday’s Agents and Editors conference. My Blogger profile has been pretty bare-bones, and he asked whether I might like to divulge a little more information about myself, so as to make it at least a little easier to tell those assembled just who on earth I am.

Here’s what I sent him:

  • I’m the father of two boys, ages seven and two.
  • I’m a native Texan, born and raised in Sulphur Springs.
  • I’m the grandson of a DuPont chemist and a football coach.
  • My favorite books as a child ranged from Lilian Moore’Â’s Pickle for a Nickel to John D. Fitzgerald’Â’s Great Brain series to The Book of Lists.
  • My first work as an author, The Fozzie Brothers Meet the Monsters, enjoyed limited distribution (there was one copy) at the Lamar Elementary book fair in 1979.
  • I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in history.
  • I had expected since my sophomore year in high school that I would become a journalist, but not long after I graduated from UT, I ran out of steam.
  • I began crafting stories for children in late 2000 when my older son, not yet two, asked me repeatedly to tell him the epic saga (with drill noises) of how I had installed a smoke alarm.
  • I first learned of the Switzer brothers’ story three years earlier when I read Bob Switzer’s obituary in The New York Times. I began researching their story in June 2001 and sold the manuscript for The Day-Glo Brothers in November 2004. It’s now in the illustrator’s hands.
  • I’m focused on nonfiction — I have two other finished biographies in search of the right editor — but I take a stab from time to time at picture book and middle grade fiction.
  • I logged more than 300 rejection letters over five years before signing with an agent last December. I still get rejections — I just don’t keep count anymore.

I’ve been invited to another conference in August, so don’t be surprised if you see still more of this sort of stuff in the next six weeks.