David Klass blames his choice of career as a writer on his mother. “I could hear her typewriter when I went to sleep at night and its clicking woke me up in the morning.” An English teacher and author of over fifteen novels herself, Sheila Klass surrounded her family with books and literature. Klass's father, an anthropology professor, was particularly fond of the works of P.G. Wodehouse, and enjoyed playing different roles as he read books aloud to his children. This steady infusion of language and literature had its effect on their children as David and his sisters Perri Klass, a doctor, and Judy Klass have all published books. David says he was most influenced by books of adventure like Treasure Island, Call of the Wild, and White Fang.
In spite of all the literature around him, David says he didn't read as much as he should have when he was in junior and senior high school. Realizing how much the reading he did as a student at Yale helped him to appeal to grow intellectually, he wanted to write books to appeal to young people and to stimulate their thinking. He believes that no matter how busy their lives are during those important years, they will read if the right books are made available to them.
Any reader of David Klass's novels will quickly recognize the importance of sports to this writer. Klass wrestled and played baseball and soccer in high school. At Yale he played baseball. “I learned from sports about how to deal with people and with myself. At the same time, I had lots of fun,” he says. Locker rooms, tough coaches, and the colorful drama of sports provide a rich reservoir of material to draw from in his writing for adolescents.
Another powerful influence on Klass's writing is the two years he spent as a teacher in Japan after graduating from Yale. He taught in a public high school in Atami for three days a week and visited other high schools on the other two days. He also coached the high school baseball and soccer teams. Klass was impressed by the respect given to teachers in Japan. He believes that being a high school teacher is “the most noble profession in the world.” Two of his novels are set in Atami.
Although he's not an activist for environmental issues, Klass says he has studied and read about ecology. He finds himself drawn to the drama of the conflict in small towns in the American Northwest that depend on an industry for survival. But his novels are not about issues alone. “If I write truthfully about the characters,” he says, “the issues will come alive.”
For the past seven years since his return from Japan, David Klass has been studying film writing in Hollywood in addition to writing seven novels. His first screenplay is about to be made into a film starring Morgan Freeman. He is beginning to develop a reputation in California as a writer of hard action films. “I hope I can continue to write young adult novels about introspective young people in difficult situations as well as screenplays for action films,” he says.