I was born in the Pacific Northwest, in southwestern Washington State, but we moved around a lot when I was young. My father had migrated from the Oklahoma dustbowl to California in the 1930s, and migration never seemed to leave his blood. Adjusting to new schools, sometimes a few a year, was hard. Reading got me through and became a passion. I gobbled up The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth, The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley, and many others.My love of stories soon became a zeal for "getting things down on paper." At age 11, I started my first novel, The Canadian Calf. I had just finished reading The Yearling, so I figured a novel about a young boy in Canada who adopts an abandoned moose calf would be just the ticket. When my younger brother, Doug, got his smelting pole hung up on an old piling and fell into the frigid, fast-moving floodwaters of the Cowlitz River, I came up with the idea for my second novel, The Swift Stream, which concerned the art of smelt dipping in the Cowlitz using a woman's nylon stocking as a net.I knew from then on that my life's goal was to publish fiction. Through adolescence, college, marriage, and children, I never lost sight of it. Sometimes life can throw curves and wavy lines at us, and I've seen my share, but I've never strayed from writing for long. In fact, armed with visions of authoring the great American novel as an expatriate, in 1981, I moved my family to a small village in the hills of southern Spain.We planned to spend one year and stayed for nearly four. I learned the craft of writing; my wife conquered the language and made fast friends. My daughter was the first foreigner ever picked to be queen of the annual village fair, and my son was soon indistinguishable from the other young boys in the village. One of my most prized memories is of the day my wife Ed and Mary Averett at wedding and I were matron of honor and best man at the wedding of some close friends in the village church. The high walls of the traditional Catholic church were hung with precious oil paintings that had been torn during the Spanish Civil War. And still they hung there. We felt privileged to be a part of such an important occasion. Our experience in that part of the world was life-changing and stays with us to this day.My novels are about how families work through grief and loss, which can occur in many forms. Besides grieving loved ones who have died, one can also grieve over a divorce, friends from an old neighborhood after moving away, a favorite pet who has died or gotten lost, the loss of status in the community, even losing one's place in the world in general. My belief that people can get through these transitions and find a better way of life is what informs and inspires my writing. It is the primary issue in my novel, The Rhyming Season.