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I was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1949. I graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 1967, and attended the Ohio State University from 1968 to 1972. I have two children, Anne, born in 1979, and Paul, born in 1981. We resided in Marion, Ohio, from 1980 to 1995, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1995.
I've been a voracious reader all my life, beginning with a passion for horse stories in grade school. I began reading adult science fiction when I was nine, a taste picked up from my father. He was a professor of Welding Engineering at Ohio State and an old Cal Tech man (Ph.D.'s in physics and electrical engineering, magna cum laude, 1944), and used to buy the science fiction magazines and paperback books to read on the plane on consulting trips; these naturally fell to me. My reading tastes later expanded to include history, mysteries, romance, travel, war, poetry, etc.
My early writing efforts began in junior high school. By eighth grade I was putting out fragmentary imitations of my favorite writers — on my own time, of course, not for any class. My best friend Lillian Stewart and I collaborated on extended story lines throughout high school; again only a fragment of the total was written out. The high point of my high school years was a summer in Europe at age 15, hitchhiking with my older brother.
I dabbled with English as a major in college, but quickly fell away from it — my heart was in the creative, not the critical end of things. But an interest in wildlife and close-up photography led me on a six-week biology study tour of East Africa. Eight hundred slides of bugs; much later I also borrowed the landscape and ecology I had seen for background of my first novel. That's one of the nicest things about writing, all of a sudden nothing is wasted. Even one's failures are re-classified as raw material.
After college I worked as a pharmacy technician at the Ohio State University Hospitals, until I quit to start my family. This was a fallow time for writing, except for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that ran about 60 pages. It was however a very fruitful time for reading, as my Staff card admitted me to OSU's 2 million volume main stacks, filled with wonders and obscurities.
I quickly discovered that writing was far too demanding and draining to justify as a hobby, and that only serious professional recognition would satisfy me. Whatever had to be done, in terms of writing, re-writing, cutting, editorial analysis, and trying again, I was determined to learn to do. This was an immensely fruitful period in my growth as a writer, all of it invisible to the outside observer.
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