The Backstory

The brainstorm for The Eye in the Ceiling began after Thanksgiving dinner in 2017 when my nephew Brian Sampson shared his epic insights into early American architecture. I was not too familiar with Henry Hobson Richardson’s work, or many of the other architects, artists, sculptors, movers and shakers whom he spoke about with great enthusiasm. But I became instantly fascinated with his take on all of it.

I stepped inside Brian’s world where his perspective and ideas are not what you read in a book or lookup on the internet. We met on a frigid weekend in Boston for the Brian Tour filled with his insights that delve deep into the city’s great architecture and art history. After Boston, we visited Cambridge and North Easton to view more Richardson buildings.
And that’s when the fun began.

Countless phone conversations, text messages and email exchanges proved that there was a pulse to Richardson’s architecture waiting to give life to a novel.

Brian endured many drafts as I grappled with his architectonic ideas, the characters that evolved and the wild ride they took us on. To say we had a blast collaborating on this novel is an understatement.

Brian, a 2012 Penn State graduate, is an architectural engineer who retired at age 30 to embark on his solo bike tour of the world. He’s been on the road since 2018 logging over 20,000 miles. He got the idea for the bike tour when he was in middle school and read Patricia Shultz’ book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Follow Brian’s bike tour on Instagram @Brian.Sampson4 and

Brian’s ideas are endless. The sequel is in the works.

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