I was born and raised in my grandparents’ home, five miles north of the setting I chose for Abiding Darkness. Our cotton country town was within a rifle shot of two rivers, a bayou, a double handful of lakes, and endless acres of woods. In those surroundings, millions of day-by-day adventures linked themselves to become my boyhood.
When I was eight years old, I saw Flying Tigers with John Wayne and knew I wanted to be a pilot. After graduating from Mississippi State, I spent six years in the Air Force, and I recently retired after flying twenty-nine years for a major airline. My career in the cockpit was no less than a thirty-five-year answer to a young boy’s unspoken prayer. And now I get to write . . .
Writing has transformed my life—mostly for the better, but my schedule has been a little crunched for the past four years. In one sense, I look forward to the day when I will be able to squeeze in time for banjo lessons and golf. On the other hand, I’ve never had a hobby that came within a long mile of generating the kind of pleasure I derive from crafting a good scene in one of my books.
My wife and I started to Mrs. Smith’s kindergarten together and graduated from high school with nineteen other kids. With college, careers, and forty some-odd years of marriage behind us, we find ourselves in Texas—about twenty miles south of the Red River. Most people would describe our lives as boring and colorless—I spend the biggest part of my time writing; she leads an in-depth, women’s Bible study. We like greasy hamburgers and Dr. Peppers, most species of warm-blooded creatures (the kind that don’t bite), and spending July in the mountains.
We still have close personal ties to Mississippi, and we get back there often.