I was born and raised in Morris, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Morris, where I eventually received my B.A. I received my master's degree in American studies from the University of Minnesota, and my Ph.D. in English and American literature from the University of California-Riverside.
At the University of San Diego since 1972, I have taught American literature and various writing courses. During this time, I have been writing and have published a novel (Ghost Lover,
Bantam Books, 1982), a chapbook of poetry, two textbooks, articles on higher education, and numerous opinion pieces for various newspapers.
Although I live and work in southern California, my heart has never left the Minnesota prairies. I love the small towns and abandoned farms, and I love even more writing about the people who once lived there. I am happiest when I am researching and writing about these people.