Photo of James Robert HerndonI live in Atlanta, and while I’ve spent most of my life in the American South, I’ve also lived in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington. The five most recent jobs I’ve worked are bookseller, legal clerk, slush reader, galley editor, and technical writer. I’m a recent graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and the Clarion West Writers Workshop. I will never be mistaken for an extrovert, but I enjoy getting together with book nerds and talking about how the stories we love are put together. I am probably hardwired to build things, and to think about how things are built.

My father was an All-American competitive swimmer who spent most of his youth in the water, and he encouraged his children to be equally interested in aquatics. I spent my childhood in community swimming pools, where I slowly made friends with weightlessness, strategic breathing, and limited usability of my ears and eyes. I enrolled in a scuba certification course when I was 12, and if I do the math, I have now spent an entire week of my life at the bottom of the ocean. I think this enjoyment in changing my body’s sense of space and exploring worlds that are unfamiliar (and perhaps even uncomfortable at times) is the same thing that makes me want to read and write fiction. When you are underwater for more than ten minutes, part of you begins to forget who you are and as your mind shifts, the water begins to feel like thick air. A great story can have the same effect.

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