Brent Winter was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to an 18-year-old single mother who claimed to have begun teaching him to read when he was two years old. Brent doesn’t know whether it’s even possible to teach a two-year-old how to read, but he’s been devoted to the written word for as long as he can remember, so maybe his mom was telling the truth about this one.
He was in sixth grade when he wrote his first short story, a Silmarillion fan fiction that told how hobbits were created (a glaring omission in Tolkien’s account of the origins of Middle-Earth). He continued to write on and off throughout grade school and high school, but he gave writing a break when he went to college at the University of Alabama; after all, it takes a lot of time and effort to flunk out of school. He should have known he wasn’t cut out for a career in law or international business when he blew off studying for his Western Civ final so he could pull an all-nighter to read The Talisman.
After his premature departure from academia, he held a variety of suboptimal jobs: fast-food assistant manager, carpet cleaner, pizza delivery driver, coupon book delivery driver, hotel front desk clerk—that one lasted about two hours, until a VP fired him—and restaurant dishwasher. It was during this gauntlet of occupational misadventures that Brent decided he wanted to be a writer instead. He started writing a short story (which he never finished) and enrolled in the Writer’s Digest correspondence course (which he also never finished). Eventually he figured out how to finish a story, and that was the one that earned him his first rejection, from the now-defunct Twilight Zone magazine. The story was titled “No Experience Necessary.”
Brent kept writing, kept getting rejections, segued out of dishwashing and into line cooking, won one short-story contest, got more rejections, and segued out of restaurants altogether and into the publishing industry. As the only editor in his office who lacked a college degree, he was keenly aware of the limitations on his employment prospects, and he started to wonder if he should finish a certain endeavor he’d begun long ago. Soon he did, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy followed by an MFA in creative writing. He’s still employed and financially solvent today, which proves that people who have impractical college degrees can still lead normal, productive lives.
Now Brent works as a writer and editor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and his first novel, Blood Family, is available for purchase in both print and e-book formats. He wrote most of the book while riding the bus to and from work. His mom never got to read Blood Family, but he thinks she would have liked it.