I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California. I lived in the Bay Area until I was five, by which time I had three younger siblings. In 1958 we moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where my parents continued to produce offspring. By 1964 I had four brothers and two sisters. I attended Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers), and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School. This is so tedious. Why do you keep reading?
For the next seven years I attended college, first at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, then at the University of Minnesota, where I took nearly every one-level class offered, but very few three- or five-level classes. I left college without graduating, but knowing a little bit about nearly everything, and a great deal about absolutely nothing. That superficial education now serves me well at cocktail parties, and as a novelist.
After college I worked various jobs for which I was ill-suited, including sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, painter cap salesman, pineapple slicer, etc. Eventually, having no better options, I decided to write a novel. I finished writing Drawing Dead in 1991. Two years later it was published by Simon & Schuster.
In 2004 my novel Godless won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. That’s a huge deal if you are a writer. It made me deliriously happy.
Today, I live with novelist and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin. We have one small dog (are you still reading?) named Gaston. When I’m not writing or reading, I like to cook, run, bike, inline skate, hunt mushrooms, look at art, and take naps.
There you have it. More than half a century compressed into a few short paragraphs. Feel free to copy and paste for your school project, but don’t tell anyone I suggested it. Need to know more? Check out my FAQs page.