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John Michael Champlin (uses his Confirmation name,Tim, as a pen name) was born in Fargo, North Dakota, the second child of a large-animal veterinarian and a primary school teacher. He was reared in Nebraska, Missouri and Arizona.
During his high school days, he played football and track and was later on the track team in college. Following his 1955 graduation from St.Mary's High School in Phoenix, he moved with his family to Tennessee when his father was transferred.
In 1960, as a senior at Middle Tennessee State College, Tim won first place in Men's Original Oratory at the state Forensic meet in Maryville.
In 1964, he declined a job offer as a Border Patrol agent with the U.S. Immigration Service to finish work on his Master of Arts degree in English at Peabody College, Nashville (now a part of Vanderbilt University).
During his thirty years in the U.S.Civil Service, he wrote short stories and magazine articles. One of his short stories appeared in "The American Way"--American Airlines' in-flight magazine. Branching out from magazine writing, he began his career as a historical novelist with SUMMER OF THE SIOUX in 1982. Since then more than thirty of his novels have been published.
Champlin has achieved a notable stature in being able to capture that time in complex, often exciting, and historically accurate fictional narratives. His stories contain unconventional plots, striking historical details, sharply defined characters--all of which keep the reader turning the pages.
Some of his subjects feature lumber schooners sailing the West Coast, early-day wet-plate photography, daredevils who thrill crowds with gas balloons and the first parachutes, tong wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Basque sheepherders, and the Penitentes of the Southwest. His tales, whether set in the Civil War, Victorian England, or on the American frontier, are always highly entertaining.
He has twice been a Finalist in the Western Writers of America Spur Awards competition--in 1999 for the short story, "Color At Forty-Mile" and again in 2013 for his original paperback novel, THE SECRET OF LODESTAR. His next novel, CROSS OF GOLD, will be published by Thorndike Press in October, 2013. His current completed manuscript, MARK TWAIN SPEAKING FROM THE GRAVE, is being considered by a publisher.
In 1994 he retired from the U.S. Civil Service. He and his wife, Ellen, have three grown children and ten grandchildren.
His hobbies include sailing, shooting, tennis, and typewriter collecting.