Stephen was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1983. He has 4 brothers and 4 sisters and is the second youngest in the family. He grew up in Elgin, attending school in Aurora, a 30 minute drive away. Unfortunately, Stephen has poor inner ear balance and gets very easily car sick. Most of those days were spent sleeping to and from school, which you can imagine, gave him a lot of energy during the night to pester his poor parents. But those late nights helped him to foster a very vivid imagination and he was more than happy playing by himself and imagining being a pirate on the salty seas or a captain of a space vessel surrounded by aliens.
In 1995, Stephen's father Peter, a Lutheran minister, was called to service in Australia. So at the age of 12, Stephen moved to Australia. Moving to another country is a shocking experience for everyone, but even more so for a kid entering his teenage years. He attended high school in Australia, graduating in 2000 from Aldridge State High School in Maryborough, Queensland.
After school, he took a year off to explore his deep seeded ambition to become a chef. Things were going well, he got a job as a chef's apprentice and was working in a seafood shop in Mackay. Then, in 2001, on September 11th, the world shuddered. Stephen was rocked by the visions of that day and decided to change his life. He enrolled in Aerospace Avionics at QUT, the Queensland University of Technology.
There, he discovered who he was. Unfortunately, he did not have the drive or focus on Aerospace, although he loved the math, science and the space part of it. Instead, he found what he truly liked to do when he would help his fellow students. He found a love of teaching and decided to pursue a career in teaching.
In 2003, Stephen started learning at the University of Southern Queensland, USQ. There he studied for four years, meeting many amazing people, and graduated with a degree in Education, with a Bachelor of Education majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Ancient History. That love of Ancient History had always been there, and began to show itself in those days. The beginnings of a career as a writer and telling tales of the great wars being fought on many planets.
In 2007, Stephen graduted and got placed in a small town in far north queensland, called Bowen. Very excited, he arranged to move there and found a very nice, but expensive, house to rent. There, he started what he thought would be the beginning of a long and satisfying career in education. But, other plans were set into motion as the Principal and his Head of Department took an instant dislike to Stephen. Making him hate going to work, these people drove Stephen out of the education industry within 6 months.
He moved down to Mackay, to live with his sister and brother in law until he got back on his feet. There, the got a job in a sugar mill and found a job he really loved. Things were going great, he was promoted and was doing an excellent job when a car accident occured. Stephen has no memory of that accident or for weeks after it. He suffered multiple injuries; nose injuries and stitches to the face, a broken right arm, a dislocated hip, long scars on his right leg and a bleeding brain. The doctors and nurses of the Mackay hospital were fantastic and saved his life. True heroes who go unnoticed from day to day.
While recovering from his accident, Stephen found his true love in his writing. It was during those first two years after the accident, while he was recovering and reganing his strength and memory, that he penned the Black Omens and started his career as an author.