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I've wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember but, until my thirtieth year, I lacked the courage to try. Emulating my heroes like Jack London and Ernest Hemingway seemed an impossible task (and still does). Instead of writing, I devoted myself to gathering stories about people and Nature, beginning by surfing with my brothers near our home in Santa Monica, California. As we grew each year, we pushed ourselves by paddling out into ever-larger waves. This led to road trips to the warm surf of Mexico and the sharky winter giants in Northern California; then later to the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain and a lonely solo trip down the west coast of Morocco.

Everywhere along the way I gathered characters and stories.

My formal education was sporadic - after dropping out of high school, I pursued bits and pieces of college all over, from an experimental commune college in Northern California to Paris, France and then Mississippi. My employment choices were equally varied. Paychecks came from work as a lifeguard, chauffeur, ski instructor, and, quite possibly, Wyoming's smallest bouncer.

The stories continued to gather and grow. It was in the mountains of Wyoming that I finally fell in love with a place and settled down a for bit. I also discovered rock and ice climbing - a passion that became even stronger than the lure of the waves. The people I met in the mountains were some of the most fascinating people I'd ever come across, and the things I learned about myself 1,000 feet off the deck, amid rockfall and avalanches, transformed my character. The University of Wyoming's College of Law made an uncertain but generous bet on me and, after three years of study (and lots of mountains climbed when I should have been studying), I ended up with a license to practice law.

Soon married and in need of a job, I became a deputy district attorney in Colorado. Given a badge and sworn in as a peace officer, my life was suddenly overwhelmed with stories and characters. Every day was an adventure, whether trying a domestic violence case before a jury or going along with a SWAT team to execute a no-knock warrant. I had the opportunity to observe everything from heroes of the highest order to the most despicable villains imaginable and to witness acts of courage and depravity.

The collection of stories gained momentum and were soon overflowing my memory.

It was time, I decided. I'd faced my fears among sharks and big waves, on the rock and ice far off the ground, and in the courtroom, too - it was time to face a greater fear: a blank page. So I took leave from my job and spent six months doing nothing but writing. The book, a fictionalized amalgamation of people and experiences in Wyoming, became the EDGE OF JUSTICE. To my surprise and delight, it was purchased by Random House and a prequel, POINT OF LAW, was contracted. Both became bestsellers in Colorado and elsewhere. Three more novels followed: TRIAL BY ICE AND FIRE, CROSSING THE LINE and BADWATER. So far somewhere around a million copies have been printed in eight different languages. The books have been nominated for an Edgar Award (Best First Novel), a Colorado Book Award, and made the Independent Booksellers' Associations' Book Sense Top Ten list.

Currently, while working again as a prosecutor, I am finishing a nonfiction book about a legendary manhunt in the Canadian Arctic and my childhood daydream of joining the hunt for the killer. After several years of work and two grueling winter expeditions to the Canadian arctic, it is finally nearing completion. The working title is MADNESS: CHASING A LEGENDARY KILLER ACROSS THE LAST FRONTIER.

I hope to soon return to fiction and send my primary characters, the brothers Burns, off on what will likely be another disastrous adventure.

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Point of Law
.........Edge of Justice.........Trial by Ice and Fire.........Crossing the Line.........Badwater


Website © Clinton McKinzie 2002-2011