The Short Version (sometimes called an "Author Bio")
Kevin Emerson is the author of sixteen novels for children and young adults. His books have been published in ten different countries, and you could say that he's big in the Czech Republic. Formerly a science teacher, Kevin has taught creative writing to children and teens with Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools program, and Richard Hugo House. His is also a drummer and singer, most recently with his bands Northern Allies and Math and Physics Club. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant (probably because he was wearing a suit of armor), and once appeared in a Swedish TV commercial.
The Long VersionGreetings! Thanks for stopping by. I've been writing stories since I was a kid growing up in Connecticut. The earliest ones I remember writing, in elementary school, were about characters from movies: Indiana Jones and James Bond. No one called it fan fiction back then, but that was what I was doing. It was a good way to practice writing because I had the characters and the styles, and just had to come up with my own plots. My favorite things to read back then were Choose Your Own Adventure Books and comic books, especially Spider-Man and the X-Men.
In middle school, I started writing my own spy stories, and then horror stories. My favorite author in middle school and high school was Stephen King. I also got more and more into playing the drums in the school band and with friends.
I kept writing and writing, all through high school and college. I mostly did this on my own. I didn't take creative writing classes except for one elective in high school, and I didn't show many people my writing. I did join the literary magazine later in high school and published some poems that might not have been very good. :) I never really liked English class, because I didn't like the books we had to read and I hated writing essays. (I still don't like writing essays, but now I do like reading a story and then thinking about why the author did what she did, and what the themes are.) Also in college, there were so many other interesting things to study, like painting, philosophy, and ecology—I ended up majoring in biology and environmental science, and even spent a semester in Kenya—that I figured I would learn about all that stuff, and keep writing on my own. I was kind of stubborn! On the one hand, I thought I was good enough at writing to figure it out myself. On the other hand, classes might have helped me write something publishable sooner. We'll never know! Also I kept playing music, too, and along the way I learned how to sing.
I moved to Boston after college to play in a band with some friends, and I worked for awhile as a bank teller, and then a life-changing event happened: I took a job at a summer nature camp, and there I
met some kids and parents whose school very badly needed a science teacher. The school was in Dorchester, MA, just south of Boston, and somehow, they hired me. For five years, I taught their creative science program called Kidlab, which was hands-on science for elementary school kids. Turned out I loved teaching. In my third year, I also started teaching one of the reading circles, and started reading the popular kids' books of the time, like Harry Potter, and the Golden Compass, and Walk Two Moons, and Holes. I'd still been writing a little bit, but suddenly my head starting filling with stories for young readers.
On the day after New Year's 2000, I sat down and started trying to write my first middle grade book. I was 25. I saved up some money, stopped teaching science a couple years later, and put all my time into writing. Six years after starting that first story, and MANY rejection letters later, I got my first publishing contract from Arthur A. Levine books. That was for my third try at a novel. It was called Carlos is Gonna Get It. Since then, I have been really lucky to keep writing and publishing books.
My favorite things about being an author are imagining new ideas and talking about my books and writing with kids and teens.