From the author's website
I was born and raised in Lynn, Massachusetts. After attending St. John's Preparatory High School in Danvers, I went to college at the University of New Hampshire in Durham and tried to study, of all things, computer science. I was awful at it, just awful. I took Calculus and a basic computer programming language, studied hard, and even with the help of friends and a tutor, I flunked both classes. My mother was an accountant and my father an engineer for General Electric so I thought I'd inherited their math gene. I guess it skips a generation. I switched my major to English with an emphasis on creative writing.
That was where I briefly met with writer and professor Tom Williams. He was sick at the time, so I didn't get to know him that well, but I knew he'd taught one of my favorite authors, John Irving, and I heard he helped Stephen King get published. King dedicated his book, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, to Tom Williams. This felt like the right place to be.
After graduating from UNH, I applied to the college's Master of Arts program to study fiction but was denied. My writing professor, who was also on the board, told me my writing wasn't very good—which hurt but at the same time somewhat surprised me since I had won the campus's creative writing contest that year. The professor told me it didn't matter. My writing, he said, just wasn't very good.
So I enrolled in the master's program at Boston's Northeastern University and studied technical writing. I didn't write too much during that time; I was wondering if my writing professor was correct in his assessment of my skills. Truth be told, I was probably having a pity party. Cake, optional.
After graduating, I accepted a job in downtown Boston and got to work on an idea of a novel I'd started back in college. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I needed to write the story. It took two years to finish.
The novel was called Deeper Into Black. It took me another two years to find an agent.
Nobody wanted it. Then within the span of one week, I got calls from three agents saying they wanted to represent it. I flew to New York the next week and interviewed all three. One agent, Pam Bernstein, immediately stuck out from the others. Pam was the only one who said the novel had problems. She was completely honest. She didn't say I was brilliant, that I was going to be the next big thing. She said she liked the story and that it needed work but since she wasn't an editor she couldn't tell me how to fix it.
After the book was turned down by a few publishers—it needed a lot of work—my agent suggested I work with an independent editor by the name of Richard Marek, who, before going into business for himself, discovered Robert Ludlum and edited The Silence of the Lambs—one of my favorite books. That book really had a tremendous impact on me—the characters, the subject matter, the writing, everything was just done brilliantly. It's the only book besides The Shining I read in one sitting.
Marek and I worked on Deeper Into Black, which eventually became DEVIANT WAYS. My agent sold it a week later to Pocket Books.
DEVIANT WAYS (2000) was followed by WORLD WITHOUT END (2001) and REMEMBERING SARAH (2004), which was nominated for a Barry Award and the Mystery Writers of America's prestigious Edgar Award for Best Novel. My latest book is THE MISSING; the first in a series featuring Darby McCormick. For reasons I don't quite understand, THE MISSING took a long time to write. But all of that time and hard work didn't go to waste. I plotted out all the novels and figured out different ideas to bring in two of my favorite characters from DEVIANT WAYS—Jack Casey and Malcolm Fletcher.