At what age did you know you wanted to become a professional magician?

I've loved doing magic for people since I was five. I began to read a lot about it in jr. high and high school. I also performed a lot a fairs, festivals and school events during high school. I figured it would always be a very fun hobby and never thought I could be a full-time performer. But at age 21 I was offered a tour of Texas and was soon doing 15-16 shows a week. Somehow it turned into a job and I love to make people laugh and amaze them with the magic.

What's the first magic trick you ever learned?

After I learned how to vanish a cookie, I thought, hey this magic stuff is fun. I think I did a trick with a scarf appearing from a small box. My dad brought it home from his time in the service.

How did you learn the art of magic? Did you study with a mentor, or are you self taught?

I was basically self taught for my first 10 years in magic. I read every book I could find. Then in high school I started attending magician conventions and learned a lot from other performers. I kept reading. Now I invent my own tricks and teach other magicians my methods at conventions as well as in articles I write for magic magazines.

How long have you been a professional magician?

I have entertained people full time for almost 30 years now.

What's the best part about your job?

I love to hear the laughter as I add a lot of comedy to the show. I also really love the look of amazement that children and adults have on their faces when the trick works.

Do you have a favorite magic trick?

Every trick that my audience likes I like, but maybe my favorite is one that I invented. It is a way for a rubber chicken to find someone's card and that gets a good reaction.

Which magicians and illusionists inspire you?

I like to read books about the magicians who lived a hundred years ago around the time of Houdini. I just finished reading about the Great Thurston. He had a fabulous life traveling with a big show and many assistants and was considered the greatest magician in the world. His life had many ups and downs, so it is interesting to see how he handled the hard times. Currently I really enjoy Lance Burton, David Copperfield and especially the comedy magic of The Great Tomsoni.

Tell us a little bit about the kind of shows you do.

I do a variety of shows and tailor them for the groups I work with. I do a fun school assembly show that gets kids excited about reading. This is called "The Reading Magician Show." Every trick uses books or talks about reading. For high schools I do post Prom and post Graduation parties and these shows usually start in the middle of the night. At company parties I entertain people after the banquet. I also do fairs and festivals and even an occasional amusement park.

For kids interested in learning magic, what advice would you give them?

The best way to learn magic is with a book. You can read about many tricks and pick the one or two that fit your style the best. A good place to practice your tricks is a local nursing home. This is where I first did shows. The people enjoy seeing someone perform and you can try out some new tricks this way. Remember to practice. That will help you build confidence and make sure you have all the details set up right. Go make some magic and make someone happy!

How did your book Amazing Magic Tricks come about?
Why did you want to write a children's magic book?

I wanted to encourage young people to find the joy in doing tricks for their friends and bringing a smile to people's faces.

I have written six other magic books, but they are for magicians who are already pretty far along the path. Amazing Magic Tricks is the kind of magic book I wish I had when I was starting out. At that time there were few books that had pictures, so it made it difficult to learn. The Amazing Magic Tricks book has many photos to go with each trick and it clearly lays out the tricks in a step-by-step style, so I think it is easy to understand and learn from.

I also wanted my book to have different tricks from the average kid magic book. About half of the book has old tricks, changed around and revamped for today. The other half are original tricks based on old principles of magic. I hope people will learn these magic tricks and then move on to inventing their own too. For example, in one of the tricks we pull a wand out of a box of candy. At a party for dentists recently I used the same method to pull a huge dentist's mirror on a stick out of a little box.

It's fun to change and adapt the tricks to fit what interests you. When you have fun doing magic, your audience will have fun watching.