Dana Pearson, author of "The Muralist" and "Two Birds," was born in Springfield, Mass. in 1964 and raised in neighboring Longmeadow where, as a fourth grader at Converse Street School, he vowed to be a writer when/if he grew up. In 1979 his family moved to Maine, where he graduated from Kennebunk High School three years later. A BA in English Lit from Gettysburg College naturally led to stints as a waiter, bank teller, nurseryman, and substitute teacher. He joined the York County Coast Star in 1994; by the time he left the paper in 2007 to pursue writing fiction full-time, he had earned awards from both the Maine and New England press associations for his work as a humor columnist, reporter, and editor. Pearson, who has had several one-act plays produced in Maine, lives in Kennebunk with his wife Diane. He loves playing guitar, gardening, watching movies, hiking, and traveling, and absolutely detests beets.