I'm a native Texan, and I spent my early years a few miles from the Mexican border in Starr County. Eventually my family moved to West Texas where I grew up in the oil fields and ranches of the Colorado River valley northwest of San Angelo. After graduating from North Texas State University and spending a year in graduate school (focusing on 19th century European literature), I moved to Austin in 1970 where my wife, Joyce, and I still live.
Although I wanted to try my hand at writing fiction after graduate school, Joyce and I had two small children, and the often-rocky road to publishing and establishing a writing career seemed a risky proposition that I couldn't afford to take at that point. I took an editing job with a small regional press and spent the next decade knocking around in a variety of jobs, including running my own small publishing company for a few years, and editing books in the humanities for the University of Texas Press.
Finally, in 1980, I decided I couldn't wait any longer to try my hand at fiction. Knowing I couldn't afford to write for nothing, I decided to increase my odds of getting published by researching what kinds of fiction had the best chance of finding a publisher. Mystery novels rose to the top of my research results. I don't think I'd ever read a "mystery novel" at that time, but I immediately bought a representative collection of twenty-five popular, famous, and classic mystery novels, including British and European writers. After reading these, and many more, I realized that the "genre" encompassed a startling variety of work, everything from Mickey Spillane to Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Two years later I began my writing career by publishing two mystery novels in the same year. Thirty-odd years later I've just finished my 15th novel. Though I began writing in the mystery genre, I eventually went on to write fiction in other areas, mostly dealing with the criminal, national, and private intelligence professions.
When I'm not writing, I spend most of my time in my library. My other pleasure is gardening and landscape work, though where I live in the hilly streets of west Austin, "gardening" most often looks like wrestling with nature, rather than gently nurturing it. Still, though it's a lot of work, it's a great pleasure to watch things grow. Joyce and I now sit in the shade of trees that are forty feet tall that we planted when we first moved to this place nearly thirty years ago. That's a good thing.