I was born in Cherry Hills, N.J. on November 1, 1960. Since my father worked for the National Park Service we moved around a lot, and I grew up variously in Arizona, California, and Colorado. In 1982 I received a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado. After graduating, I worked a number of jobs: inside sales at manufacturer’s representative for ITT Bell & Gossett (water pumps, expansion tanks, heat exchangers), retail sales (stock worker), first reader / managing editor for a small press, and technical support for a now defunct freight company. I am currently a technical writer for a software company near Silicon Valley (but far enough away to have escaped serious injury when the .com bubble burst).
In the late ’80s I moved to Eugene, Oregon to try and write full-time. Like most people, I started out writing short stories, figuring it would be easier. Wrong. My first story sale, “The War Inside,” came out in 1990 in Pulphouse Magazine. It was subsequently reprinted in Quick Chills II, and High Fantastic, a diverse collection of stories by writers based in or from Colorado. I published a handful more stories, mostly notably in Amazing Stories (“Roatan”), WoTF VIII (“Pale Marionettes”), Tales from Jabba’s Palace (which was co-written with my wife and still produces enough royalties a year to buy a six-pack of expensive microbrew beer or bottle of cheap wine), and F&SF (“Toy Soldiers”).
In the mid-nineties, I decided I couldn’t make a living writing short fiction and turned my attention to novels. After an embarrassing number of false starts my first novel, Clade, was published by Bantam Spectra in 2003. The book was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and won the second annual Norton Award for the best science fiction novel of the year set in the San Francisco Bay area. My second novel, Crache, came out in 2004. My third book is scheduled to come out from Bantam Spectra in the summer of 2006.
I met my wife, Marina Fitch, in 1991. In 1992 we moved to Watsonville, California, the location of the farm worker strike at the center of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle. Clade was strongly influenced by living and working in a community of immigrants for nearly ten years. I currently live in the Santa Cruz mountains.
War – or at least the personal consequences of it – seems to be a recurring theme for me, at least in my short fiction. I’m not sure why. I’ve never served in the military. Neither have any of my close friends or family members. Identity and the questions surrounding it seems to be another common theme. So do questions about the status quo and authority, maybe because I never seem to fit in. I’m wary of institutionalized thought. I don’t like to be told what to do or how to live my life. I’m quite capable of screwing it up just fine on my own.