About Me

My Interest in China and Greece

I have been interested in the culture and history of China and Greece since college, and over the years have continued to study these polar opposite eastern and western civilizations. I am fascinated by their distinctly different contributions to American culture.

My interest in China and, in particular, in the Chinese immigrant experience in the United States is reflected throughout my novel, Mandarin Yellow, the first book in my new mystery series introducing Socrates Cheng. This manifests itself in Socrates' continued struggle to reconcile his three disparate cultures - Chinese, Greek and American.

My interest in China and its civilization continues. In furtherance of this, I am in the process of writing a new mystery series that takes place in Shanghai from 1935 – 1941. For more information on this from time-to-time, subscribe to my e-mail updates:

My interest in Socrates’ Greek heritage is reflected in the second book in his mystery series, The Mourning Woman.

My Writing Background

Until Mandarin Yellow, all of my published writing involved non-fiction. Specifically, I published approximately 96 articles, monographs and books involving various aspects of American economic history in the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

My Education, Work Experience and Family Life

I graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a BA degree in philosophy and history, and from Duke Law School with an LLB degree. I practiced law in private practice, first in New York City, then in Washington. I am married and live in Washington with my wife. I left law practice in 1995.

Who Do I Read?

I grew up in the 1950s in a household without books. I cannot remember ever seeing my father read anything other than the daily newspaper and occasionally an issue of Argosy, True or Manhunt magazines. I don't recall my mother reading at all until late in her life.

But I was fortunate. I had an Aunt Florence, my father's spinster, older sister, an elementary school teacher. Aunt Florence gave me my first book to own - actually two books - for my ninth birthday. She gave me a Hardy Boys book and one of the Landmark series history books for young adults, in this case, a biography of Kit Carson. I read both within my first week of owning them, and I was hopelessly hooked on reading and owning books. I've never looked back.

I try now to read widely, although these days I am less likely to finish a book I've started if I don't feel the book has much to offer. I give most books about 100 pages before I decide to complete them or drop them.

I still enjoy biographies and always read history. I also read poetry, philosophy and some science written for non-scientists. But fiction is my mainstay. Someone once said to me that you can learn a lot about real life by reading fiction. I believe it.

There are certain writers (novelists and poets) who can count on me to read everything they publish. Some are still writing; some are now dead. Who are these writers? They are (in no order other than the fact that their names occurred to me in this order): Charlie Stella, James Swain, Pat Conroy, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolfe, Jim Thompson, George Pelecanos, Theodore Roethke, Eudora Welty, Richard Stark (a/k/a Donald Westlake), John O'Hara, Joseph Conrad, James Lee Burke, Lawrence Block, James Salter, Kim Addonizio, John Cheever, Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and Natasha Tretheway.