Mark Travis was born and raised, or lowered, as the case may be, in Southern California. After earning an A.A. degree from his local community college, he transferred to UCLA where an inattentive young driver left a campus parking lot and knocked Mark off his Triumph motorcycle two weeks into the fall quarter.
Mark found stumping around the huge campus on crutches no fun and withdrew for the quarter with the intent of returning after the holidays. His Selective Service Board immediately classified him 1-A, prime draft meat, and ordered him to appear for a pre-induction physical examination.
DRAFTEE, U.S. ARMY, 2 EACH tells most of what happened next.
While in uniform, Mark transferred from crowded UCLA to the new UC campus in Irvine. His military career as a treatment room medical corpsman had convinced him his sympathy level was much too low for a successful career in medicine, and he switched to something easy and useless: social science. Two years later a counselor convinced him to take the LSAT, and Mark enrolled in a new Orange County law school.
As Mark neared the end of his fourth semester, he applied for work as a law clerk with the City of Huntington Beach. As the City’s representative in Small Claims Court where attorneys were prohibited, Mark decided he enjoyed courtroom action.
Mark took the July, 1974, California Bar Exam and returned to his apartment to find an abundance of spare time. He had no law school classes, no bar review classes, and no television habit. He reviewed the brief journal he kept while an Army private and decided to write The Great American Novel, to wit, DRAFTEE.
Though he expected a strong bidding war by New York City publishers and a Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, neither of which happened, writing became a habit. During a thirty-three year career as a criminal prosecutor, husband, and father of two sons, Mark completed a novel every three years or so. His second Dan Ballantine mystery, INTENT TO DEFRAUD, won the Dark Oak Mystery Contest in 2004, and DEAD DRUNK won the Cop Tales Contest a year later.
Mark stopped doing law in 2006 and has spent the subsequent years traveling the western states in his small motorhome with his dogs and, occasionally, his soon-to-retire college administrator wife, Deborah. He researches, writes, fishes, and shoots threatening beer bottles, cola cans, and paper targets.