Welcome Bruce, we’re excited to have you on Reader’s Entertainment. First, tell our readers a bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live?
I was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Norwegian immigrants, and the first in my family to go to college. I was the youngest of four children. My parents died in 1990 and 1999 and are buried in Northern Norway. My eldest brother died as a child during the Nazi occupation of Norway, my sister passed away in 2014, leaving only my other brother and myself. I served for six years in the US Army and earned a Ph.D. in History. I was a Fulbright professor in 2003 in Northern Norway and have taught history at Citrus College in Glendora, California, since 1998. I have four children and one grandchild and live in Glendora with my wife Ginger and my youngest son.
Your books seem to walk a line between academia and metaphysics. How does this impact both your teaching and your writing?
I am who I am in class, in my writing, and in life. Since all history is personal, my life experiences come through in all of my endeavors. Since age four I have had paranormal experiences and have always yearned to fully understand what was going on and how, if at all, that I could control these experiences. Three years ago, I had a spiritual reawakening that led me to write Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History, teach a Paranormal class at Citrus College, and now publish the second in my trilogy, Timeless Deja Vu. My students have responded favorably to my sharing these experiences and weaving them into the fabric of our history.
Has there been any ‘backlash’ from either community?
My colleagues, students, and the college administration have been very supportive of my paranormal turn. Many of them confide in me their paranormal experiences. Other than the occasional internet troll, there was one history graduate student who said that I had committed academic suicide by writing Timeless, but I think not. I am evolving and being honest and exploring those subjects that interest me the most and that need to be written about and approached in a methodical manner.
Do you think we, as in humanity, are all able to experience paranormal ‘events’?
Yes, we all experience paranormal events. Some of us recognize them as such, others write them off as coincidence or are afraid to acknowledge them. Ancient people relied on their paranormal abilities and it was part of their daily lives. Today, modern people have forgotten just how naturally talented we are. Children are very psychic (i.e., having invisible playmates), but are quickly taught to put away such childish notions by the adults around them. I was lucky that my mom was psychic, so she helped me and did not push me away from my natural abilities.
Besides writing amazing books, you’ve also had several plays produced, can you give our readers some details about them?
The Bronze Star was my first play and was the first one that was produced. As with all my writing projects, I was compelled to tell the story. A Vietnam War veteran friend of mine committed suicide in 2002, one of the 22 US veterans who commit suicide every day in America. He earned a Bronze Star for valor in combat and discovered that he was gay while deployed during the war. Upon his return home, he was rejected by his own mother for being gay and treated badly by society both for being gay and being a Vietnam veteran. I struggled to find a way to tell his compelling story. It came out as a play. The second play, The Epiphany, is based on my own family and how they survived living under Nazi occupation in Norway during World War II. The Epiphany was performed here and in Norway. Both of my produced plays had supernatural elements.
As a person with many veterans in their family, I’d really love to know more about the Boots to Books program you initiated. Can you give us details, and where the idea originated, and how others can be involved?
My friend Manuel Martinez, who is the director of the East LA Vet Center, approached me with the idea for a college credit transition course for recently returned veterans in 2006. I was able to fast-track the course through our curriculum process and we offered our first class in the Fall 2007. Citrus College became the first college in the nation to offer such a course for veterans and their family members. Ginger De Villa-Rose, now my wife, helped me and Manny found and promote the Boots to Books transition course. The idea spread throughout the country and now thousands of colleges and universities offer Boots to Books type courses. Everyone can help by making sure that your local colleges offer a transition course and have a specialized veterans center on campus.
And, let’s get personal…
How long have you been writing?
Probably since I was eight years old. I remember making my own books by writing in block letters as neatly as I could and providing illustrations. At ten years old my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and I taught myself to type and began to write short stories and typed letters for my dad since he could not write in English. I think my parents realized I as destined to be a writer.
Briefly describe your writing day.
I get up usually around 5 AM and read, research, and write for a few hours. Later in the day I might also do some writing. Three or four times a week I take spirit walks and record and later transcribe information I get through my mediumship. A day without writing is like a day without sunshine.
Timeless Deja Vu is the second book in my Timeless trilogy. My first Timeless book documented 34 paranormal experiences that I have had since age four. Timeless Deja Vu documents 31 additional personal experiences. Deja Vu goes a bit deeper and takes more risks than the first book. I include stories that I thought were too odd or too incredible to include in the first Timeless book. I wanted to test the waters first and see what the reaction would be. Since the reaction was positive, I went further. For instance, I relate how I came in contact with the Progenitor, an ancient alien who was the original contact for us on Earth. John Wayne and Elvis weave their way into the accounts as well. And readers will be able to take a ride with me in my demonic car and find out about my Nazi aunt. The third Timeless book that will likely come out next year and complete the trilogy, will be the most spiritual of the three and will go even further and deeper.
What events inspired this book?
My dear childhood friend Gene, after his death in 2016, inspired and encouraged me to write the first Timeless book. He even gave me the title and the courage to take a chance. After the success of my first Timeless book, I further developed my mediumship abilities and started teaching my paranormal course. Paranormal events continue to occur every week and I have a front row seat. I believe this is a natural process because the paranormal is really normal and the supernatural is really natural.
Could you share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book? Perhaps a juicy bit of back-story, or something only you know but didn’t include?
I do not emphasize enough the importance that Ginger has in my creative process and paranormal adventures. None of this would be possible without her. She is as logical and grounded as any human being can be. She remains somewhat skeptical of the paranormal even though she has had some small experiences. That skepticism is healthy for us and for anyone really. I enjoy having skeptics in my paranormal class. I will say this as well, there is more alien stuff to come in the final book of the trilogy.
Please share details on any upcoming projects, books, plays, etc.
Timeless Trinity, the completion of the Timeless trilogy, will likely come out next year. I have already written over a dozen stories. Also, I am working with Gary Dumm, the extremely talented illustrator in my first two Timeless books, on a comic book for all ages. The original concept for the comic book came from a comic strip I wrote and illustrated back in 1982 when I was an engineering student at Montana Tech in Butte, Montana. Gary was the primary illustrator for Harvey Pekar in American Splendor. I cannot imagine the Timeless books without Gary’s illustrations. As Harvey Pekar so often said: “Comics are words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures.”
All writers are readers. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
Mark Twain, Theodore Sturgeon, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allen Poe, and my dear friend David Willson, are all writers whom I have admired and learned from primarily. I loved the language of Mark Twain, the concept that everyday people live very complex lives and have interesting stories. I loved the imagination and odd perspectives provided by Sturgeon and Vonnegut. I really admired the magic of Bradbury’s stories and the darker musings and eloquence of Poe. David Willson wrote the REMF series of books about his time as a clerk typist in the Vietnam War. His books explain how we failed to achieve victory in Vietnam. As he put it: “We had several ice cream factories producing ice cream for our GIs. How many ice cream factories do you think the Viet Cong and NVA had?” His intelligence, humor, and honesty is inspiring.
Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?
I can juggle. So could my mom by the way. I inherited my psychic abilities and juggling abilities from my mom.
Your favorite go to drink or food when the world goes crazy!
Warm chocolate chip cookies and ice-cold milk. There is no way to feel down when you enjoy this combination–the world becomes a kinder and gentler place.
What is the one question you never get ask at interviews, but wish you did? Ask and answer it.
- How do you reconcile your belief in God and the paranormal?
- And, how is my favorite sport of baseball tied to the paranormal?
My friend, and former member of the clergy, Dr. Jack Call told me once, “if God isn’t paranormal, then who is? I love that quote and it captures my belief precisely. My gifts are God-given, and I have had them since I was four and saw an angel. As for baseball, we have all heard athletes talking about being in the zone to describe their peak performance in their sport. In baseball, hitting the ball is very difficult, in fact, it may be the most difficult thing in any sport. A hitter who is successful 30 percent of the time is an all-star. You hear batters say that when they are in the zone, the ball slows down, and they can see it better and therefore hit it squarely at a higher rate of success. I believe that is based on focused calm and a form of spiritual connection or the same process I use in prayer and in my mediumship. Time slows down or stops. Then you have all the time in the world to do what you have to do.
Learn more about Bruce and his writing on his website.