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  The Books of A. Michael Shumate  

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A. Michael Shumate  

It would be really chic to say I came from a broken home and had to be raised by gypsy squirrels but the truth is that I was raised in a happy home by loving parents with my younger sister, Cathy. I was an "army brat" and we moved around a lot. My dad was a musician and my mom an artist. It was a good, creative home.

Most authors' bios stress how they loved to read at an early age. Not me. I was dyslexic in a time when nobody knew what that was. I hardly ever picked up a book except to look at the pictures, which probably explains why I went into such a visual career as graphic design and illustration. But I always loved stories. I remember when I was five we lived in Japan and our house had a small stage where my sister and I would give "performances" of our favorite fairy tales. All my life whenever I'd go to a movie, I'd rehearse the story in my mind afterwards and wonder what if the characters had done something this way instead of that.

By the time I had finished high school I could probably have counted off the total number of books I had read in my whole life (not counting school assignments) on my fingers and toes.


Fast forward to my married life. As a father of eight, I always took care of bedtime with the kiddies including bedtime stories. Let's see: eight kids times an average of five years of stories each times 365 nights per year. Yikes, that's a lot of stories! Well, to be honest, story time was a group thing so each child didn't get his or her own separate story time, but on the other hand, often there was more than one story per night. And yes, the kids often had to wake me up to finish their stories. But it's still true that I love stories. I always told my children that when really I grew up, I was going to write kids' books.

In my mid twenties I began to read novels for myself. Tolkein. Heinlein. Asimov. Herbert. Card. I learned to love reading but was still painfully slow for me. My horizons were expanded and my own stories began to form in my head until there came a time when there wasn't any more room for stories until I got some of them out of my head and on paper where I could craft them and form them and share them with others.