Just like the protagonist in my novel, Shades of Gray, I was the owner of travel agency for 12 years (mostly in the 90′s). But this is the only similarity between myself and John Manning! (I never ventured into the cocaine business, I swear.)
I grew up in Greenville, NC and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics. All through high school and college, I was notorious for scribbling out stories and ideas for novels (hey, this was before wordprocessors!) and always kept them in a top secret shoe box. (and the box is so top secret that I’ve been trying to find it for 15 years!).
After college, I fell into the travel industry by accident and was able to grow a travel business into an Inc. 500 company. The agency grew through the use of the Internet and by acquiring three other companies. Late in the 1990’s, I became familiar with the story of one of the my company’s clients who was murdered in Durham, NC and was a suspected drug smuggler. This story and the subsequent downfall of the travel agency industry (and my company) after 9/11, planted a seed in my head that grew into my first published novel, Shades of Gray. I began writing this novel in 2003, shelved after completion in 2006, and revived in 2011 thanks to a great friend from a writers group in Cary, NC.
Today, I live in the Raleigh, NC area. I am the father of three, and have been happily married for 20 years. I enjoy (mostly) attending my kids sporting and school events, supporting the local real estate industry, and watching fine films with my wonderful wife. Whenever possible, I enjoy the beauty of North Carolina’s mountains, running, camping, and short walks on the beaches of the Outer Banks (several references to OBX in my book) . I am also an avid reader (time permitting), and a social media goofball. Most evenings I can be found tapping out my next novel, due for release in late 2013. Stay tuned!