Stephen Merlino (he/him) was born in Seattle where he currently lives, writes and teaches. He grew up seeking the perfect driftwood staff on the shores of Puget Sound, fighting orcs in ravines behind his house, and inventing fantasy stories for his friends.

At the University of Washington he fell in love with Chaucer and Shakespeare and all things English, but the closest he got to England was The Unicorn Pub on University Way, run by a Scotsman named Angus. Stephen spent many evenings in that pub, sampling books and ales and Angus’s wicked steak and kidney pie (with real offal!).

Finally, he hopped a plane and backpacked through England and Scotland and Wales to taste ales and haggis in their motherlands. A visit to Stratford inspired him to return a year later to study Shakespeare (the best fantasy ever written) and the history of the English renaissance, at the University of Reading.


Since that time he made a career of teaching and traveling, including leading tours in Great Britain and in the American West. The Jack of Souls and its sequels are actually set on an island kingdom inspired by Elizabethan England and American frontier–two periods in history invention, optimism and arrogance–and features a subplot inspired by Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Stephen is now married to the world’s most desirable woman with whom he has two wonderful children. When he’s not writing, he can be found running, reading, and inspiring young people to love reading and writing.