Born in rural northern Kentucky, Michael Capek was rescued from youthful shyness and academic failure by communing with nature and reading. Writing gave him a voice and an identity in his teen years and offered a path out of self-doubt and despair. An encounter with author Jesse Stuart in his first year at Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Kentucky) confirmed what he had sensed for years—that his own destiny lay in teaching and writing. Michael married his high school sweetheart, Terri Richardson, in 1969, and they spent a combined 58 years teaching in Kentucky’s public schools. Michael retired from the classroom in 1996 to write full time. Today, he roams the same valleys he explored as a child, still finding peace and inspiration in nature, reading, and writing. Sharing those things with children—particularly his grandchildren—continues to be one of his greatest joys.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. But I never played favorites. I loved every book I picked up. Whatever I was reading was my favorite.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
- "He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well—and loathed him." --Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Jesse Stuart, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
The need to write was/is ever-present in my life. I never set out to become an author; it just happened.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Read, write, persist and always tell the truth.