I was born in Hollidays Cove, West Virginia, near the Ohio River in the state's northern panhandle. The River, the east-west railroads that skirted the Allegheny mountains, the mountains themselves were our playground.
I was born a writer, but my greatest influence was my sister Rose; she spent much of her short life in bed drawing on the back of wallpaper and binding her romantic stories into picture books.
Art was a second love, but it was not stressed in grade and high school.
After high school, I enlisted in the Marine Air Corps, and the GI Bill got me through the University of Washington, where I majored in journalism and worked as a stringer for The Seattle Times.
While working as an editor in Tokyo, Japan, I began drawing and sent a portfolio to the Yale School of Art. At Yale, I sold my first short story to The New Yorker. Then on to Kenyon College, where I built an art department, taught painting, and began to write children's books. I have been hard at it ever since. Odd, I have never been interested in illustrating them myself.
My wife Patricia and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in 2004.