From an October 2014 photoshoot.  (Photo credit: Joyce Bunuan Merz)

From an October 2014 photoshoot. (Photo credit: Joyce Bunuan Merz)

I grew up in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston in one of the houses my great-grandfather built upon emigrating from the Schwarzwald region of Germany in the late 1800s. With the 265-acre Arnold Arboretum at one end of my street and Jamaica Pond at the other, I was surrounded by a lot of outdoor space and the opportunity to explore to my heart's content. I used to walk to the library a half mile from my house, take out loads of books and then retreat into the rolling green hills to lose myself in the pages of worlds other people had worked hard to create. I think even back then I knew that I wanted to some day do the same thing and hopefully give people an escape such as I was lucky enough to find in reading. I attended the prestigious Boston Latin School starting with the 7th grade and eventually graduated in 1988, bound for college where I majored in Japanese and East Asian Studies. I enlisted in the United States Air Force and also worked for a time for the United States government. Little did I know that the experiences I had would some day fuel my writing. Upon leaving the service, I worked in private security, handling a wide array of assignments including executive protection and corporate investigations. In 1998, I left the corporate world behind (okay, I was fired for writing a novel and storing it on one of the company's computers...) and decided that now was the time to try my hand at writing full-time. I'd been writing doggedly since 1994, but now I no longer had a safety net (which tends to be how I work best) and with the need to succeed no matter what, I put my mind to becoming a professional author... ...30 novels and countless short stories later, I'm blessed to be able to do what I love for a living. Dreams are hard work, but anyone can achieve what they want if they're willing to sacrifice and work hard for them. It doesn't get easier, but it's always rewarding. In 2015, I'm looking forward to setting new goals, pushing my boundaries further, and continuing to evolve as I walk my path. Hopefully, this year will be full of great adventures, awesome people, and amazing learning.