I was born in Pensacola, Florida to a Cajun Mother and a Texas Father. My parents had me late in life and raised me with stories about their experiences. They both lived through the Depression, and Father fought in the South Pacific in World War II, ranched and rough-necked in Texas as well as being a cross-country truck driver. Mother grew up bilingual and told me how she was punished at school for speaking her mother tongue Cajun French. They also raised me with family stories, and it is these stories that I attribute to my desire to become a writer.
I received my B.A. at Louisiana State University, my M.F.A. at the University of Memphis, and my Ph,D at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. I am an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Cameron University in Lawton, OK. I have been publishing my fiction and creative nonfiction in literary journals since 1997, and my work has appeared in fourteen journals. My first novel, Every Bitter Thing, is forthcoming in 2010 from Black Lawrence Press. In 2001, my nonfiction manuscript, People of the Good God, was awarded a grant from the Louisiana Division of Arts. In 2006, I received a research grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program for their “New Populations Project” in which my wife and I performed fieldwork in the Laotian community of Lanxang, located outside of Lafayette, LA.. Our fieldwork focused on the Laotian New Year festival, and the result of our work was the essay “Laotian New Year and Its Traditions,” which was published in the December 2007 edition of Louisiana Living Traditions.
I’m working on a memoir, End of These Wonders, about my father and his string of heart attacks that began when I was nine years old and ended with his passing when I was eighteen.