I don't remember one thing about the day I was born, though I have been given to believe that it happened in Warner Robins, Georgia, which serves as the setting for most of my childhood memories. I received an undergraduate degree from Furman University and hold a PhD in seventeenth-century literature from Vanderbilt University. I have spent most of my adult life in Nashville, Tennessee, where I live with my wife, our six kids, and a Labrador retriever.
I call my fiction "fantasy adventure stories told in an American accent." The Wilderking Trilogy (The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking) and The Charlatan's Boy are fantasy stories, but they owe more to Twain than to Tolkien. Peopled by boasters, brawlers, bumpkins, con men, cowboys, and swampers, my novels draw deeply from American vernacular storytelling traditions. They harness the humor of that tradition in the service of divine comedy—a worldview in which the sorrows and hurts of this world, as true as they might be, aren’t nearly so true as a vital joy and love that will one day sweep everything before them like a flood.
I love the comic novel in particular because I believe that even low comedy can be a way to get at transcendence. But my non-fiction books--The World According to Narnia, Saint Patrick, and The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor--center on divine comedy too.
In recent years, I have gone back to teaching. I am Head of Program at New College Franklin in Franklin, Tennessee. I also teach creative writing, both online and in live-action seminars.