I grew up in Dallas, Texas, a town famous for cattle and cowboys. My family on my father’s side has lived in the area since the 1830s, when Texas was still part of Mexico.  I was two when I received my first pair of cowboy boots, and they weren’t just for show.  Both of my grandfathers owned cattle ranches, where I spent many a happy summer day, mending fences, herding cattle, or simply wandering in the woods, a stick in hand in lieu of a sword, pretending I was in some distant age.  I had three brothers, and in the pursuit of quiet, I spent countless hours hidden away in a small closet on the upper story of my home, reading by the golden light that filtered in through a small window.

I  was eleven years old and home sick with the flu when my grandfather gave me an old, tattered copy of C.S. Forster’s Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, my first real taste of historical fiction.  I went on to finish the entire series in under a month, and thus began a love of historical fiction that has lasted to this day.  I decided that these were the sort of books that I would like to one day write.

After graduating from Harvard, I worked a variety of odds jobs to support my writing habit: waiting tables, working at a talent agency, clerking for a law firm, teaching, and making wine.  I received my PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and dabbled in academia. Eventually, I gave all that up to write fiction full time. I have published three novels: Siege, Eagle, and Kingdom. I recently finished Holy War, the final book in the Saladin Trilogy, and am hard at work on my next, Bastard, which explores the childhoods of Harold Godwinson and William the Bastard, setting the stage for their great battle at Hastings in 1066.


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