In the past 5-10 years, the number of teenagers that have a smart phones/tablets has increased significantly. With more and more teens having these devices, there is a huge market for games to suit this generation. Whether it is a simple, yet frustrating game like ‘Flappy Bird’ or a more advanced game like ‘Clash of Clans’, the gaming market for teens is rapidly growing. One developer trying to develop games for this generation, is Clayton Crooks. Clayton Crooks is an American author, computer consultant and software developer. He is best known for his books on topics including game development and mobile devices.
iPadWiki’s Adam Stirven had a chance to interview Clayton about his journey from humble upbringings to a prominent author, computer consultant and game developer. The full interview transcript is below:
Adam Striven (iPadWiki) – Where are you from?
Clayton Crooks – I’m originally from Lapeer, Michigan. It’s a small town in southeastern Michigan. It was a great place to grow up. I’d probably still live there, but I don’t enjoy the cold weather very much. I feel very fortunate to have grown up there, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that I happened to have met my amazing wife Amy as we both attended Lapeer East High School. I have so many great memories from the area. We now live in Knoxville, TN, which is proving to be an amazing place to live and raise a family.
Tell us your latest news?
Currently, I’m finishing up my latest book project, an iOS game programming book. It’s geared towards teenagers that are interested in learning about game development. It’s been interesting and something I hope they will enjoy. Game development is fun, but it’s extremely challenging, especially if you are doing a project by yourself. Hopefully it will inspire them to create something amazing. On that front, I have a couple of mobile games I’m working myself including bringing back one of the all-time great arcade classics, “Karate Champ”.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’m a computer consultant by trade. The writing actually came somewhat by accident. I was helping some people in an online forum many years ago. Someone noticed a post that I had written about how to fix an issue with a server or something. They asked if I might be interested in writing about technology related topics for their newsletter, and everything just took off from there. Before I knew what was happening, I was writing for 5 or 10 magazines, and had an offer to do my first book.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It really depends greatly on the subject at hand. For most of the books that I’ve done, it takes an average of about 3 -6 months. I’ve had a few take much longer, and some that were a little less. Much of the time, it depends on how much time I can devote to writing, as my consulting business keeps me quite busy.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’m not sure of the exact number, but probably somewhere around 20. I guess it depends on if you include 2nd and 3rd editions of books as well. My favorite book was a programming book called “Learning Visual Basic.net Through Applications”. There are a number of reasons, but well before tablets had become mainstream, I wrote a couple of example applications related to development for the Tablet PC. I had such great feedback from other developers. There are even a few examples on Microsoft’s Developer Network that utilize things from the book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love being outdoors and any type of sports related activities. My wife and son are huge sports fans as well, so it’s something we do as a family. I’m sure it’s not surprising, but I also love all types of gadgets… mobile devices, game consoles, tablets, phones, computers.
What does your family think of your writing?
I have an extremely supportive family. I’m very busy when I’m writing a book, and my wife and son are both so incredible. I should probably write a book about how amazing they are! I’m very lucky to have their support, because I couldn’t do anything that I’m doing without them.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
When I was first starting out, I had to think a little more about what to write about, but as time has gone on, I have publishers reach out to me about topics they have interest in. They’ll usually contact me and ask if I’d be interested in doing something on a particular topic. With the basic idea in hand, we work out the details on content, audience and direction.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I get questions all the time from readers, and it’s one of the things I like most about writing. Sometimes it will be a thank you for writing the book, and at other times, they’ll ask questions about something I’ve written. Perhaps they are stuck with an example in the book or maybe a more generic question. Regardless of the query, I always enjoy hearing from readers.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Strangely enough, I am doing exactly what I wanted to do when I was growing up. My introduction to a home computer was a Commodore 64 (thanks Mom and Dad – best give ever!), and I’ve been hooked since. I always hoped I could do something that would help people and be technology oriented. I’m getting the chance to do both with my consulting business and writing.
If you would like to know more about Clayton, his work, his literature or to get in contact with him, go over to his website at www.claytoncrooks.com.
Additionally if you want to checkout Clayton’s best selling book ‘iPhone Game Development for Teens’, goto http://www.amazon.com/iPhone-Development-Teens-Clayton-Crooks/dp/143545992X/.