I was born in 1962, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1969 my family moved to Lamoni, Iowa, where my dad was the Dean of Students at Graceland College and my mom taught business courses. I graduated from Lamoni High School in 1981, Drake University in 1985 (with a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance), and Boston University in 1988 (with a Master of Music degree in Woodwind Performance).
Following a brief, bizarrely inappropriate stint as bursar at The Boston Conservatory, I began teaching private music lessons in Massachusetts in 1989, and then moved to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1999. A novel-writing class taught by Gordon Mennenga at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival was the catalyst for my first novel (Leave Myself Behind). Since then, I've written four other novels: The Brothers Bishop, The Distance Between Us, The Third Hill North Of Town (under the pen name of Noah Bly), and most recently, White Creek: A Fable.
I still teach clarinet, saxophone, and bass guitar lessons in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and have also taught writing workshops at the University of Iowa's Summer Writing Festival. When I'm not writing or teaching, I usually can be found with a book in one hand and a glass of wine---or a cup of coffee---in the other.