I was born in 1973 on a working farm in Ohio. To this day, my dad lives for his farming. I never caught the bug, and spent most of my time trying to make people laugh in high school. I earned my undergraduate degree from Ashland University in picturesque Ashland, Ohio. I majored in finance and accounting which have served me well enough in my career as a Chartered Financial Analyst. My graduate degree comes from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
For many years while doing quite normal things such as meeting and marrying my wife, April, having children, and working, I maintained a notebook filled with abnormal ideas. Some of the notes were for some fantastic invention or product that popped into my head while driving. One of the ideas was even for a drug to suppress the metabolism of fructose after I read a few things about its pathways in the human body. But most of the entries in my little notebook were centered around story ideas. Over time and with the influence of the magazines and books I found myself reading by authors such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett, most of my story ideas dealt with history. Could I write a decent work of historical fiction, I wondered?
At last in 2011 with a fair amount of anxiety, I sat down to type my first novel from that list of stories. What was to be one book turned into the three Norseman Chronicles as I soon realized the tale was going to result in an unwieldy 1,000 pages or so. From the start I knew I wanted to include maps in all my historical novels. Since I was a child, I've loved maps. Older maps have more allure, but even a new road atlas is fun to look at. The maps in The Norseman are just OK, as I did them myself. I much prefer the maps from Paths of the Norseman and Norseman Chief where I paired with someone with real talent. He was nice enough to stick with me and has done the maps for The Wald Chronicles too.
If you're reading this, I presume you've read one or more of the books or are considering reading them. I thank you all for your support in my writing. My goal in my method or style of storytelling, such as it is, is to bring many names and dates from history to life so that we may better understand ourselves today.
So far I've completed The Norseman Chronicles: The Norseman, Paths of the Norseman, & Norseman Chief and The Wald Chronicles: The Wald, Wald Afire, & Wald Vengeance. I am hard at work on another bit of historical fiction - a Viking tale to fill in one of the long gaps of years during The Norseman. After that is finished sometime in 2014, I plan to begin an entirely new series, going back, perhaps, to the Dark Ages. Stay tuned!
I still have and enjoy my day job, working as an analyst and portfolio manager for a Registered Investment Advisory firm. We call the Midwest our home. And when I say "we," I mean my wife of sixteen years, though it seems like less, our three homeschooled children, and a mess of invited and uninvited critters.
Readers - I hope you can peruse this list and find a book or author you've never read and enjoy yourselves a bit. This is a list of my favorite books as the title above suggests. I did not wring my hands for countless hours deciding whether one book should be number one or number five. I'll leave that fun to you all. ~Jason
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - Each of these books in the series, starting with The Bad Beginning is excellent in making truly awful events in the lives of the Baudelaire children entertaining. For busy folks, the audiobooks narrated by Tim Currey are superb.
Black and Red, both by Ted Dekker - Marvelous look at Christianity in a totally new way. I'm not a fan of either of the sequels, White or Green.
Anything by Bernard Cornwell - I suppose it depends upon your favorite historical period, but when taken as a whole, I love his Uhtred series of books the most. In my mind, however, a couple stand-alone books are his best. Agincourt and The Fort.
Twilight by somebody - I'm totally kidding. My wife made me see one of the movies at the theater. That was enough. Not my cup of tea, but clearly it is for millions of others.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - I love this book. There are many quality English translations available. If you've relied upon movies to get your Monte Cristo fix thus far, please know that none of them do the book justice.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - Of course, no list that includes some awesome historical fiction would be complete without this masterpiece.
The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper - I almost put only The Deerslayer which, in the chronology of Natty Bumppo's life, is the first book in the series. It is great fun, but so is its more famous sibling. As in The Count of Monte Cristo, skip all the movies in favor of the book.
Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden - I had dreams of one day writing a book or series about the great khan, but then I read this and realized mine would be superfluous.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Buy yourself a copy and settle in this winter for a great read. By the time spring comes you'll be fluent in elvish.