"As a writer, I'm a consummate editor--and therefore my own worst enemy. I recently picked up some of the stories I wrote as a teenager and I'm amazed at how prolific I was and the simple, organic structure of the tales. Life has a way of mucking with one's self-esteem and doubt is the villain that keeps us from greatness."--Glenn Herdling
Glenn Herdling is the author of Piper Houdini: Apprentice of Coney Island, as well as the writer of numerous comic books. He lives in River Vale, New Jersey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The challenge of writing an author bio is to make it interesting without sounding highfalutin. (That's the first time I ever wrote the word highfalutin. I had to spell-check it.) I could cut and paste what I've posted elsewhere, but if you've made it this far you've probably come across that stuff already.
So let's start with the basics. I was born and raised in New Jersey where I still live with my two boys, a wife who after twenty-plus years still doesn't get me, and a dog who does. I was raised in your typical Brady Bunch household, except that my parents had no unexplained prior marriages and my sister and I were the only kids. And there was no housekeeper.
I used to think that a humdrum upbringing was detrimental to my aspirations of becoming a writer. After all, the authors I studied in school all had some sort of tragic or absurd event in their lives that inspired them to greatness. Over the years, however, I've discovered that normal is the new dysfunctional. When I'm at a social gathering and people are discussing their childhood tragedies, I often get looks of sympathy when I confess that I wasn't molested, I wasn't abused (this was when spankings weren't considered abuse), my parents drank responsibly, and they never fought.
Despite this normal upbringing, I was considered a bit weird during my formative years (and beyond--though I hide it much better these days). I believed in Santa Claus far longer than any rational preteen had any right. Probably owing to the fact that one Christmas Eve my grandfather fell through the ceiling when he was helping my parents liberate the presents from the attic. The next morning there was a note by the fireplace that read, "Sorry. Missed the chimney. Love, Santa."
My mother bought me my first comic book when I was nine years old during a particularly rainy vacation at the Jersey shore. It was a reprint of an old Tales to Astonish comic featuring the Hulk. I've been a rabid Hulk fan ever since. (It's your fault, mom!)
Around that time I learned that I had the unique ability to make fart sounds by squeezing my hands together. It's a useful talent when you're trying to make the big-haired person in front of you at the movie theater move their seat or when you want to get your friend in trouble in a crowded elevator. Later I learned that I could change the pitch of these hand farts, and I now amuse (and annoy) my friends by playing along with their favorite songs at pubs and parties.
I went to an all-boy Catholic high school and some of the students thought I was on drugs. (I wasn't.) Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I wasn't Catholic, so when people started to cross themselves during the morning prayers I did something that looked more like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
My grandfather did not agree with my parents' decision to send his Methodist grandson to Catholic school and he spent a great deal of effort trying to deprogram me from its evil influence. I had no idea what the differences between the two religions were, so I looked deeper into it. That led me to look into other religions, and so on. Since then, I have concluded that every religion has its merits and its flaws. So now, while I consider myself a very spiritual person, I'm not religious in any sense of the word.
I attended Bucknell University and immersed myself in its extraordinary liberal arts program. As an English major, I learned everything there is to know about symbolism, themes, archetypes, imagery, and metaphor. But no one ever taught me the basics. It wasn't until my first week working at Marvel Comics that I learned how to tell a story.
There isn't enough space here in the Internet to relate how much fun I had at Marvel. It was the best job a creative person could ever have after college and it was the only job I've experienced where people were doing it more for the passion than the paycheck.
Since then I've been spending time in the healthcare community trying to make managed care communications sound like English. To keep myself amused, I've always engaged my artistic brethren at these healthcare companies in endeavors to help them from undergoing creative implosion. One of these creative endeavors was a humor magazine called Moist. In the early days of social media, I listed the magazine on my LinkedIn profile as a particularly proud accomplishment. I learned later that as a result of this listing I was blackballed as a candidate for a creative director position at an ad agency that prided itself on its entrepreneurial spirit--without ever having seen the content of the magazine!
Another thing I've been doing over the last 15 years to keep me creatively engaged is working on a little story about an orphan who learns she is the niece of the legendary escape artist, Harry Houdini. It started as a proposal for Marvel comics but has morphed into a full-blown novel that's available right here!