The son of a U.S. Navy submarine officer, Mike grew up traveling often -- his family lived on or near military bases ranging from Key West to San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany -- before he graduated from high school near Washington, D.C. in 1971. After finishing undergraduate school at the College of William and Mary in 1975 with a degree in Philosophy, Mike spent several years traveling and working a variety of jobs that included sorting mail for the U.S. postal service, waiting tables and tending bar, driving a dump truck, repairing skis, stocking meat and produce at a small grocery store near Chicago, working as a golf course greenskeeper, and managing a convenience store in the Rocky Mountain ski resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado.
Mike taught high school English in Virginia Beach for one year before earning his master's degree in 1981 at William and Mary, where he wrote his thesis on Beat author and poet Jack Kerouac. While in graduate school, Mike worked as a writer and photographer for the college's publications office and wrote a weekly column for The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, which led to a job as a staff writer for Commonwealth magazine, then as a features writer for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, where he worked until 1993. Mike still lives in Norfolk, where his daughter Jamie graduated from high school in 2003. Jamie subsequently earned her undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and her master's degree from William and Mary in Higher Education Student Services.
Besides his books, Mike's writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Reader's Digest, The Oxford American, People magazine, and The Washington Post, and has been included three times in Best Sports Stories, published annually by The Sporting News. A chapter Mike wrote on journalistic research methods was included in The Complete Book of Feature Writing (Writer's Digest Books, 1991), and his writing on Jack Kerouac has been included in Studies in American Fiction and the QPB Literary Review. Mike is on the Editorial Advisory Board of DoubleTake magazine, and he has taught narrative nonfiction writing at the College of William and Mary and at Old Dominion University, where he delivered the Commencement Address to ODU's Class of 2006.
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