That’s me in normal, modern clothes, sitting in Philopoemen’s seat at the theater of Megalopolis.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. I grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rochester, New York, where I attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.
After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), I joined the United States Navy, where I served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, and then on the ground in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, I became a full time writer in 2000. I live in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with my wife Sarah and our daughter Beatrice, currently age fourteen. I’m a full time novelist, and it is the best job in the world.
I am also a dedicated reenactor; it is like a job, except that in addition to work, you must pay to participate. You can follow some of my recreated projects on the Agora. We are always recruiting, so if you’d like to try the ancient world or the medieval world, follow the link to contact us. Come on. You know you want to.
Below, that’s us, at Marathon in Greece in 2011. In two years, we’ll be there again!
Martial Arts And Historical Combat
I’m also a modest martial artist. I have dabbled with Iado and Aikido, and enjoyed them; I did Kendo for several years, and didn’t enjoy it. I have pursued Olympic foil and epee fencing for 40 years, and I still can’t tell if I like it. I love archery, and I enjoy shooting both black powder and more modern weapons as well. But my greatest martial passion is for armizare, the Italian martial arts of the fifteenth century; the two handed sword, the arming sword, wrestling in armour, fighting on horseback, fighting on foot with spear or pole axe.
On Writing Fantasy
A few words on Fantasy. I wrote my first fantasy novel at 14; I promise you will never see it. I have been a Fantasy reader since my mum read me ‘The Hobbit’ at age 5; I consume Fantasy novels the way some people eat chocolate. Some of my favorites, and heavy influences on everything I write, and not just Fantasy: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien; The Worm Ourobouros, by E.R. Eddison; everything by Glen Cook; everything by Steven Erikson, CJ Cheryh, Larry Niven, David Pournelle, Lois McMaster Bujold, Steven Brust, Jim Butcher and Terry Pratchett. And perhaps first, William Morris; The Red Knight owes a debt to all these books, but perhaps most to The Sundering Flood.