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Michael R. Underwood was born in Bloomington, IN to parents who met doing musical theater. He was, from birth, doomed to be a performer. He saw Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi in theaters before the age of one, instilling a love of mythic storytelling and speculative fiction from a very young age. He has lived in Wichita Falls, TX, Brooklyn, NY, Montclair, NJ, Eugene, OR, Queens, NY, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. He hates moving. A lot.
Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books. He holds a B.A. in Creative Mythology and in East Asian Studies from Indiana University and a M.A. in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon.
As a teen, Mike was raised by gamers at the Game Preserve in Bloomington, IN, playing nearly every CCG known to humanity, as well as miniatures games, lots of RPGs, and other whacky geek ephemera. His experience at the Game Preserve was a primary inspiration for the Ree Reyes series of novels.
In the proud tradition of writers everywhere, Mike has held a variety of jobs, ranging from retail mascot to web design instructor. He has also worked as a hobby game store cashwrap monkey, a student archivist, submissions reader for Fantasy magazine, a webmaster, essayist and reviewer for PopMatters, a bear-builder, a bookseller, an independent publishers’ representative, and is currently the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books (including sister imprints Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A).
In 2003, he participated in the Semester At Sea program, circumnavigating the world in a ship of someone else’s making. On the journey, he visited Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Tanzania, South Africa, Brazi, and Cuba, and went on a bit of a Brazil bender, learning the martial art/dance style of Capoeira, performing in a Bossa Nova ensemble, and learning the joys of Samba Pagode, which can accurately be described as backyard BBQ party music.
Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiance, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines & stuffed animals. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes pizzas from scratch. He is also a co-host on the Skiffy and Fanty podcast, due to Sharknado-related hilarity.
In years past, when his life was not scheduled around novel deadlines, he danced Argentine Tango, performed an an alternative tango band, and was an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
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