Growing up in the suburbs of Ohio, Andrew Auseon developed his independent personality as the middle of three brothers.
"I was very imaginative," recalls the 29-year-old author, who was raised in the town of Upper Arlington. "I was never a big person to play with other people. I've talked to a lot of other writers who were that way as well. It's a little jarring to start a social life."
Like any child, Auseon experienced his share of accidents. However, one such accident nearly cost him his life at the age of nine.
A riding lawn tractor that his dad was using came barreling down from the top of the hill in his backyard and rolled over Auseon while he was playing in a tent. By chance, Auseon just happened to put stakes in the ground even though he wasn't really "camping out." The stakes kept the tractor from completely "mauling him to death."
"It's one of those things that I can kind of hold over my dad's head for the rest of his life," says the Baltimore resident jokingly.
While he was off doing things in his "own little world" as a child, Auseon began developing a passion for writing, working first for his high school literary magazine.
"I actually took two years worth of English my final year of school because I think I was subconsciously building my skills," he says. "I was messing around with storytelling in a lot of ways."
When he went off to college, Auseon says he had a difficult time finding a good group of friends at Ohio University. However, once he did, he found himself surrounded by film majors who started casting him in their projects.
"It had so little to do with my skills as an actor," he jokes. "I was terrible!"
While acting wasn't his true calling, Auseon does talk proudly of one particular kissing scene with actress Piper Perabo, who happened to be a fellow student at Ohio.
"We had this scene where we had to kiss over and over again, and of course she has to go on to become this heartthrob," he says laughing.
While in college, Auseon enjoyed a life-changing experience when he spent a semester traveling abroad with 400 other students.
"I think it opened to world to me," he says of the experience.
His travels took him to a school for the deaf in Vietnam, remote villages in India and the streets of Jerusalem.
"It makes you realize the epic scope of everything that's going on simultaneously as you're going about your life," he explains of his journey.
While living abroad in Taiwan, Auseon wrote what he calls "the ubiquitous great American novel" that a lot of people write.
"It's something that I needed to get out of me," he says of the 800-page body of work. "I don't know if it's ever worth revising. There are some gems, but making it work would definitely be a challenge. Who knows, maybe some day."
When he returned to the U.S., Auseon was contemplating becoming a teacher when he decided to move to Washington D.C. with his girlfriend.
"That was the best decision that I ever made," he says of following the woman (Sarah) whom he now calls his wife. "It was very impulsive and no one was really sure that it was ever going to work out, but I knew the whole time that I needed to be at the same place with this woman."
Once he landed in D.C., Auseon's career began to take off. He entered the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College, which Auseon refers to as the "Harvard of childrens' books." It's a place where agents and editors roam looking for new talent.
"It was life changing because you end up being dropped into this community of amazing writers," says Auseon. "You're with people who are working every day as writers — people who are award winners. And people who have been doing this for 30 or 40 years and have seen all the trends come and go."