William W. Johnstone was born in Southern Missouri on October 28, 1938. He quit school when he was fifteen to join a carnival, but went back and finished high school in 1957. After that he worked as a deputy sheriff, and spent time in the army. When he returned, Johnstone went into radio broadcasting, where he worked for sixteen years. Johnstone started writing in 1970, but was not published until late 1979. His first published book was The Devils Kiss. He wrote close to two hundred books during his lifetime including the Ashes series, Mountain Man series, The First Mountain Man series, and Eagles series. He began writing full-time in the early 1980s. He died on February 8, 2004 at the age of 65.