Like all of us, I am a product of my environment.
I was raised in a religious/spiritual family and that spirituality pervades most of my work. I even attended a Catholic Seminary for a year before deciding the priesthood was not for me.
My father worked for the phone company as I was growing up, which was much like growing up in a military family. The company transferred us every couple of years. By the time I graduated high school, we’d moved twenty times. I attended nine different schools in five cities and three states.
I lived in North Dakota until I was eight, since then I’ve lived in Washington and Oregon. I find that the landscape of the Pacific Northwest has done more to influence me than nearly everything else. Its vast forests, rugged mountains, seascapes and sparse population inspire recollections of what the pioneers first fell in love with a century and a half ago. From my house, I can hike fifteen minutes and spend the entire day without seeing another human being. And I could see sasquatch.
My goal is to build a fiction landscape of the Pacific Northwest, much like Stephen King has done with Maine. A landscape of dark possibilities.
When I was a child living in Bismark, North Dakota, my parents took me to Fort Abraham Lincoln, the fort Gen. Custer left on his last, fateful campaign and the Knife River Village, the restored ruins of a Mandan village. Now forty years later, the memories have faded, but not the memory of the impression the visits made on a small boy. Years later, I read Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. After that I devoured everything I could find about Native American history and culture. I came to have a deep sympathy for the Native peoples’ doomed resistance to the white culture and admiration for their cultural connection to the natural world around them. The dominant culture seeks to change and subjugate a nature it sees as an enemy; the Natives sought to live within the natural world as one part of a dynamic whole.
Perhaps there is a lesson in there for us now.
When I was eighteen, I was diagnosed with a severe case of scoliosis and underwent surgery that fused most of my lumber spine and put in a steel rod. After six months in a body cast and six more in a brace I continued on to college. The condition has limited some of my options. Skiing and skydiving are not good ideas, no is playing football. Now, forty years after the surgery, my body is beginning to break down a bit. So if you see me and notice I seem to be bent and twisted, you know why.
When I’m not writing, I have worked in the restaurant industry as a cook and as a manager. Looking back, I seem to have a lot of scenes set in restaurants. I enjoy reading, playing an occasional video game, taking my dog for exploratory hikes along the beach or river. I am happily single. (it’s so much less complicated.)
Birth Place: Cherry Point, NC U.S.A.