Paul Willis grew up climbing in the Oregon Cascades, and a mythic version of these mountains became the soul of his first novel, No Clock in the Forest (1991). A revised version of this novel, together with three sequels, has now appeared as a single eco-fantasy, The Alpine Tales (2010).
He first drafted No Clock in the Forest while pursuing his graduate degrees in English at Washington State University. He is now a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he teaches British Renaissance literature and creative writing.
During his years of teaching he has apprenticed himself to poetry, and now has three full-length collections: Visiting Home (2008), Rosing from the Dead (2009), and Say This Prayer into the Past (2013). His poems have been featured on Verse Daily and on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, and he served as poet laureate of Santa Barbara from 2011-13. With his friend David Starkey he edited an anthology of American poems in response to the work of William Shakespeare, In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare (2005).
Creative nonfiction is also an occasional pleasure. His debut in this genre, Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild (2005), was chosen by ForeWord magazine as the best essay collection of the year from an independent press.