Early in life, I developed two abiding passions: A love of stories, and a hunger for adventure. It must have started when I got my very first chapter book—Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave—at age five. Even now—four decades later—looking at the cover of that book, I can remember how exciting it was. There’s Danny hanging from a ledge by his fingernails while his friend Joe shines a flashlight into the subterranean depths below him. I didn’t just want to read that book; I wanted to be Danny. I wanted to explore caves and hang from ledges and do all that stuff. After that came the mysteries of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and the adventures of teen science-whiz Tom Swift, as well as the classics—Verne, Stevenson, Twain, Haggard… too many to list here. Those stories of exploration and adventure didn’t just entertain, they inspired, and fueled my own youthful adventures.
Every time I went to the grocery store with my parents, I would browse the paperback rack to see what new adventures lay in store, and one day I happened upon a novel by Clive Cussler. What really grabbed me about that book wasn’t the description of the story (which was pretty awesome) but the author’s bio at the end. It read: “Clive Cussler lives the same sort of adventurous life as his hero, Dirk Pitt. Tramping the Southwest in search of gold mines, diving into isolated Rocky Mountain lakes for missing aircraft…” It goes on for a while but you get the idea. That was probably when I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up.
I spent most of my early years on the Oregon coast, where there were abundant opportunities for wilderness exploration and outdoor sports—surfing, mountain biking and snowboarding were my top three. I also poked around a little searching for lost treasures in the region. You remember the pirate treasure the Goonies were searching for? It’s based on an actual local legend, and you better believe I went looking for it. I also penned the early drafts of the books that would become Into the Black, Fortune Favors, Ascendant, and Magic Mirror whenever I could grab a few minutes of free time.
In 2002, I made the decision to join the Army National Guard, and while there were many reasons for this choice, I’d be lying if I said “adventure” wasn’t one of them, and in the years that followed, I got plenty of it. I also decided to indulge in another of my life-long passions—science, and specifically, environmental science. In 2010, I graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in natural resources policy. While all that was going on, I wrote The Shroud of Heaven, the first two adventures in the Dodge Dalton series, and most of the stories featured in the collection The Sea Wraiths and Other Tales. More importantly however, I finally got my work into print.
Getting published marked the official beginning of my career as a professional writer, but it was my partnership with other successful authors that made it possible for me to transition to writing full time. In 2011, Jeremy Robinson asked me to write a novella featuring one of the characters from his Jack Sigler/Chess Team series. I ended up writing three novellas, which combine to form Callsign: King—The Brainstorm Trilogy, and then convinced Jeremy to let me write full length novels in the series, starting with the origin story Prime, as well as a spin off series and the original standalone novel Flood Rising. Helios, our latest thriller featuring the Cerberus Group will be out in 2017. I’ve also teamed up with my friend David Wood to write Hell Ship, and more recently, the Jade Ihara adventures—Oracle and Changeling—and the Myrmidons Files—Destiny, and our latest, Mystic.
The last few years have kept me busy, but I’m not complaining. Every day is a new adventure!